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COVID: Face coverings are back after Omicron cases rise

Face coverings have been reintroduced today after the Omicron Covid cases rise in the UK.

Boris Johnson announced that face coverings should be worn in shops and on public transport, unless you are exempt. But masks do not need to be worn at hospitality venues.

This announcement at the weekend came after three Omicron Covid cases were found in the UK. Since this announcement, there are now 14 confirmed Omicron cases in the UK. It is hoped that these restrictions will help to slow the spread of this new variant.

The return of face coverings

Source: BBC News via Youtube.

Masks are now to be worn in shops, hairdressers, banks, post offices and on public transport, unless exempt.

The Department of Education advises that masks are worn in communal areas of universities and schools by students and staff.

Why are face coverings not compulsory in hospitality?

On Monday, the government was questioned on face coverings not being made compulsory in pubs and restaurants.

A spokesperson said: “We believe that this is a measured and proportionate approach based on the evidence that we have so far.

“It appears likely but not certain this variant is more transmissible than previous variants, but we don’t have any hard evidence and indeed no one has any hard evidence on its impact on things like hospitalisations and deaths, and individuals that are vaccinated.

Compulsory PCR tests

Alongside the return of the face coverings, it was also announced that there will be a return of compulsory PCR tests. This applies to any British citizens that are returning to the UK from abroad.

Travellers are required to take a PCR test two days after returning to the UK and to isolate until they get a negative PCR test.

All Southern African countries are now on the new red list, and only British and Irish citizens from red list countries are allowed back into the UK.

Booster Vaccine jabs

On Monday, The Prime Minister announced that any adults over the age of 18 can get their booster vaccine. Previously, only people over the age of 40, front line workers, and those with underlying health conditions, could book their booster.

You must have a five month gap between your second jab and the booster.

Health Secretary, Sajid Javid said that the NHS will contact people about their boosters “at the appropriate time.”

What reactions did the public have?

Not everyone is happy with this change of rules. Anti-maskers took to Twitter to share their views and opinions on the return of compulsory face coverings.

People who break the rules could face a fine of £200.

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