UK takes new measures to slow Omicron variant By Reuters


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People wear protective masks as they walk through the city center amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Manchester, Britain, June 21, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble

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by Costas Pettas

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain on Saturday announced new measures to try to slow the spread of the newly identified coronavirus, and a senior health official said there was a “reasonable chance” that vaccines would be less effective against it.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said all arrivals will have to undergo a test and it is time to intensify the booster punches.

“We will require anyone entering the UK to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after arrival and to self-isolate until the result is negative,” Johnson said at a news conference.

He said those who have come into contact with people who have tested positive for a suspected case of Omicron will have to self-isolate for 10 days and that the government will tighten rules for wearing face coverings. He added that the program to deliver reinforced punches will also be intensified.

Speaking alongside Johnson, England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said there was a reasonable chance the newly identified alternative would be less manageable with vaccines.

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

Earlier on Saturday, Health Minister Sajid Javid said two cases linked to the new Omicron variant had been discovered in Britain linked to travel to South Africa.

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