New Covid-19 measures are to be put in place, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced. 

The new restrictions come as two cases of the Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa, have been identified in the UK. 

In an attempt to slow the spread of the variant, Mr Johnson announced "temporary and precautionary" measures to be reviewed in three weeks, alongside a "boost" to the booster vaccination campaign.

The new measures are: 

  • Face coverings will become mandatory on public transport and in shops, but not hospitality
  • All international arrivals entering England must take a day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result
  • All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace

Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola will face travel restrictions from 4am Sunday, when they will join South Africa and five other neighbouring nations on England’s red list.

Mr Johnson said: “We need to take targeted and proportionate measures now as a precaution while we find out more.

“First we need to slow down the seeding of the variant in this country, we need to buy time for our scientists to understand exactly what we’re dealing with, and for us to get more people vaccinated, and above all to get more people boosted.”

But the Prime Minister said border measures can “only ever minimise and delay the arrival of a new variant rather than stop it all together”, so all contacts with a suspected case of the new variant will have to isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.

Mr Johnson said: “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."


Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or 01865 425 445.