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Boris Johnson announces Plan B restrictions to combat spread of Omicron variant

Written by on December 8, 2021

Boris Johnson has toughened coronavirus measures in England amid concern over the increasing spread of the Omicron variant.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference on Wednesday evening, the Prime Minister announced the measures in the government’s “Plan B”.

These include :

• COVID passports in “certain settings” like nightclubs

• People should work from home, if they can, for a “limited period”

• Face masks a legal requirement in “certain settings” including theatres and cinemas – but not bars and restaurants – from Friday

Earlier on Wednesday, it was revealed that another 131 cases of Omicron – which is feared to be more transmissible than the Delta variant – had been recorded across the UK, taking the total to 568.

More on Covid-19

It marks the second day in a row that more than 100 cases of the new variant have been reported.

The UK has also recorded 51,342 new COVID cases in the last 24 hours and a further 161 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus.

Mr Johnson made the announcement of fresh COVID measures as he deals with a furious row over an alleged Christmas party in 10 Downing Street last December, when strict coronavirus rules were in place.

Amid the scandal, the prime minister has faced the charge he is implementing stronger COVID measures as a “diversionary tactic”.

In a document published in September, the government’s “Plan B” for dealing with winter pressures in the NHS stated that contingency measures to deal with COVID-19 would include a strengthening of government messaging, the possible introduction of COVID vaccine passports for some events, mandatory face mask wearing, and a return to work from home guidance.

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Mr Johnson had already reintroduced mandatory face mask wearing on public transport and in shops, as well as other settings in England, following the discovery of the Omicron variant last month.

He has also recently toughened travel restrictions and put a number of African countries on the travel red list.

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