UK announces new pandemic measures to stop spread of Omicron

London, Dec 8 (EFE).- Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday that his government will impose new pandemic restrictions in the face of a doubling of Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom every two-to-three days due to the new Omicron variant of the virus.

Beginning next Monday, people who are able to work from home will be required to do so, while Dec. 17 will see the start of mandatory mask-wearing at indoor public venues, the Conservative premier said from 10 Downing Street.

The government “will also make the NHS Covid pass mandatory for entry into nightclubs and venues where large crowds gather, including unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, and seated outdoor venues with more than 4000 people and any venue with more than 10,000 people,” Johnson said.

A person must supply prove of vaccination or a negative Covid test to obtain the pass from the National Health Service.

At least initially, what the prime minister calls Plan B will apply only to England, as the respective devolved administrations have authority over public health in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“It has become increasingly clear that Omicron is growing much faster than the previous delta variant and is spreading rapidly all around the world,” Johnson told a news conference. “Most worryingly, there is evidence that the doubling time of Omicron could currently be between two and three days.”

UK health authorities have detected 568 infections with the Omicron variant and “the true number is certain to be much higher,” he said.

“It’s now the proportionate and the responsible thing to move to Plan B,” the prime minister said.

The announcement followed the dissemination of a video showing several of his aides cracking jokes about parties that took place at 10 Downing Street last year in violation of the pandemic rules then in effect.

One of the people appearing in the video, Allegra Stratton, resigned Wednesday as an adviser to Johnson. EFE er/dr

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