UK takes further action to slow Omicron coronavirus variant



LONDON, Nov. 27 (Reuters) – Britain on Saturday announced new measures to try to slow the spread of the newly identified variant of the Omicron coronavirus and a senior health official said there was a “reasonable chance “that vaccines are less effective against him.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said newcomers from all countries should self-isolate until they receive a negative result from a PCR test, face masks should be worn in retail stores and that it was time to step up the booster shots.

“We have to buy time so that our scientists understand exactly what we are dealing with,” he told a press conference.

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Johnson said those who came in contact with people who tested positive for a suspected case of Omicron should self-isolate for 10 days and face masks should be worn in stores and on public transport, but not in restaurants and pubs in England.

England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said at the same press conference that there was a reasonable chance that the newly identified variant would be less easily combated with vaccines.

People walk on Westminster Bridge, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in London, Britain August 7, 2021. REUTERS / Henry Nicholls

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“There is a reasonable chance that at least there will be some degree of vaccine escape with this variant,” he said.

Health Minister Sajid Javid confirmed the first two cases of the new variant in Britain earlier on Saturday, saying they were linked to each other and linked to a trip to southern Africa.

Both people and all members of their household were retested and ordered to self-isolate while further testing and contact tracing was carried out.

England will also add Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola to its travel “red list” starting at 04:00 GMT on Sunday, which means British and Irish residents arriving in the country must go. quarantine in a government approved hotel for 10 days. Non-residents will be refused entry.

This list already included Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

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Reporting by Costas Pitas, Elizabeth Piper and William Schomberg; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Nick Macfie and Frances Kerry

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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