U.K. travel restrictions over new COVID variant

LONDON (AP) — The U.K. tightened up rules Saturday on mask-wearing and on testing of international arrivals after finding two cases of the new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus as governments around the world sought to shore up their defenses.

Amid fears that the recently identified new variant has the potential to be more resistant to the protection offered by vaccines, there are growing concerns that the pandemic and associated lockdown restrictions will persist for far longer than hoped.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was necessary to take “targeted and precautionary measures” after two people tested positive for the new variant in England, and that these will be reviewed in three weeks when scientists will know more about omicron.

Johnson told a news conference that anyone arriving in England will be asked to take a a mandatory PCR test for COVID-19 on the second day and must self isolate until they provide a negative test. And if someone tests positive for the omicron variant, then he said their close contacts will have to self-isolate for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status.

He also said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required and that the vaccination program will be accelerated, without providing specific details.

“Right now this is the responsible course of action to slow down the seeding and the spread of this new variant and to maximize our defenses,” he said. “From today we’re going to boost the booster campaign.”

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https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/2021/11/27/u-k-travel-restrictions-over-new-covid-variant/8777567002/