Omicron has been lurking in the UK ever since it was first identified in South Africa.
The leniency given in terms of restrictions by the English government has finally come to an end as, 28 November observed, the Prime Minister announcing compulsory PCR tests for any individual entering the country, along with renewed COVID guidelines for public transport.
Fined up to 32 times
The PM re-introduced mask-wearing in order to mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant. Additionally, all arrivals are to mandatorily produce a negative PCR test.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UKHSA, said:
Our advanced sequencing capabilities enable us to find variants and take rapid action to limit onward spread.
Masks are to be compulsorily worn in public transports and shops. The resistance in doing so will incur a fine of £200. Every time you are charged, it will double up; the maximum limit is 32 times, which will amount to £6,400.
Speaking to Sky News Sajid said:
Doing it in this proportionate way where it's for public transport, it's for retail outlets, I think is the right level of response on masks.
Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, believes that they will be left to deal with the angry passengers.
Lynch told The Telegraph:
We support the wearing of masks but there are major issues about enforcement and it is our members left in the front line with angry passengers who refuse to comply.
A wake-up call for vaccinations
A few South African countries have been red-listed and any passengers from there have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days. This rule applies to even those who are fully vaccinated.
Dr Harries adds:
It's critical that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms isolates and gets a PCR test immediately. Vaccination is critical to help us bolster our defences against this new variant.
With WHO reporting daily death tolls around the globe, they explain the severity of the virus, stating that ‘preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs.’
To have a safe Christmas, Javid adds:
Vaccines are our main form of defence against this virus. We can already see how the vaccine programme is helping us get back towards a more normal way of life.