The government yesterday announced it has moved to Plan B. The biggest thing everyone can do is to get jabbed and have your booster, when offered one. The vaccine booster has now been opened up to all those aged over 40 and we are reducing the gap between second dose and booster to a minimum of just three months.
In his press conference, the Prime Minister made it clear that we do not yet know Omicron’s severity, its exact rate of transmission, nor the full effectiveness of our vaccines against it.
But we do know that Omicron is growing much faster than the previous Delta variant and it’s spreading rapidly all around the world. As of 8 December, 568 cases have been confirmed through genomic sequencing across every region of the UK and the true number is certain to be much higher.
Most worryingly, there is evidence that the doubling time of Omicron in the UK could currently be between two and three days.
To slow the spread of the virus and to buy us time to find out more about Omicron and to get boosters into more people, the Government has moved to Plan B in England.
Top lines to note are:
- From Friday 10th – The legal requirement to wear a face mask has been extended to most public indoor venues, including theatres and cinemas. There will be exemptions where it is not practical, such as when eating, drinking, exercising and singing.
- From Monday 13th – The re-introduction of working from home where you can. Where you have to go to your workplace, reduce your contacts there to reduce transmission.
- From Wednesday 15th – The NHS Covid Pass will be mandatory for entry into nightclubs and venues where large crowds gather. This includes unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any venue with more than 10,000 people. The NHS Covid Pass can still be obtained with two doses of the vaccine, but this will be kept under review as the boosters roll out. Alternatively, a negative lateral flow test can be shown. There would be a small number of exemptions for medical reasons and for those on clinical trials.
- Daily tests will be introduced for Omicron contacts rather than self-isolation to keep people safe while minimising the disruption to daily life.
We will send out further guidance as soon as we have it. If you have any questions, please do get in touch.