British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the UK must take “targeted and proportionate measures now” amid fears of a new variant of Omicron Covid-19.
“I have to stress this: As always, with a new variant, there’s a lot we don’t know at this early stage. Our scientists are learning more and more hour by hour. It looks like Omicron spreads very quickly and can spread between people who are double vaccinated.It also has a very broad mutation, which means it is quite different from previous configurations of the virus and As a result it can at least partially reduce our vaccine protection over time,” Johnson said at a press conference.
Two cases of variants that have been detected in the UK to date.
Johnson also announced additional measures:
“We will not be banning people from travelling. But we will require anyone entering the UK to have a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival and self-isolate until they have negative results,” Johnson said. “…In addition to the measures we’ve taken to locate people who have been in the countries involved in the past 10 days, we will be asking all contacts of those who tested positive. count with a suspected case with Omicron to self-isolate for 10 days regardless of your immunization status.”
The prime minister said his country would also “step up its campaign to ramp up” in an effort to get as many people as possible vaccinated.
“We still don’t know exactly how effective the vaccines are against Omicron, but we have good reason to believe they will provide at least some protection. And if you’re motivated, your response is likely to be stronger. So it’s more important than ever that people get their power, and we get those boosters into the weapon as quickly as possible,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the rules on face coverings in stores and on public transport would be “tighter”.
The new measures will be reviewed in three weeks, he said.
Johnson expressed “deep gratitude” to scientists in South Africa for identifying this variant.
Watch Boris Johnson’s speech: