SURGE testing of Omicron Covid variant hotspots is set to begin as many fully vaccinated Brits could be forced to isolate.
It comes after the Prime Minister announced that anyone who has been in contact with people infected with the super strain will have to isolate for ten days regardless of their vaccination status.
Government scientists have warned that the new Covid variant spreads rapidly, can be transmitted between fully vaccinated people and makes jabs less effective.
Health officials are now carrying out surge testing in Essex and Nottingham where the two cases of the Omicron mutant were reported, according to the Telegraph.
The positive cases will undergo genome sequencing in a bid to identify further information on the new strain.
Currently, those who have come in contact with positive cases would not have to self-isolate if they were single or double jabbed.
Double jabbed Brits have been freed from isolation rules since August 16, when the pingdemic came to end.
But those rules are bound to change as Boris Johnson announced a set of changes during a press conference on Saturday.
The new restrictions include mandatory face coverings in shops and on public transport.
Travellers arriving in the UK will be required to take a PCR test on day two and self-isolate until they get a negative result.
The PM said : “We’re not going to stop people travelling, I want to stress that, we’re not going to stop people travelling, but we will require anyone who enters the UK to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival and to self-isolate until they have a negative result.
“Second, we need to slow down the spread of this variant here in the UK, because measures at the border can only ever minimise and delay the arrival of a new variant rather than stop it all together.
“We will require all contacts of those who test positive with a suspected case of Omicron to self-isolate for 10 days regardless of your vaccination status.
“We will also go further in asking all of you to help contain the spread of this variant by tightening up the rules on face coverings in shops and on public transport.”
The PM also urged people to get booster jabs, saying: “It’s more vital than ever.”
He said: “We don’t yet exactly know how effective our vaccines will be against Omicron, but we have good reasons for believing they will provide at least some measure of protection.
“And if you are boosted your response is likely to be stronger.
“So it’s more vital than ever that people get their jabs, and we get those boosters into arms as fast as possible. So from today we’re going to boost the booster campaign.”
Despite growing concerns, Mr Johnson promised Christmas “will be considerably better than last year.”
The PM said that these new restrictions will be reviewed in three weeks.
Omicron — discovered only days ago in southern Africa — has been declared the worst variant yet by one expert, while there are fears it might reduce vaccine protection over time.
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Source: The Sun