British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed tougher Covid-19 restrictions in England on Wednesday to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
With the rising number of Omicron cases in the country, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed tougher restrictions in Covid-19 measures on Wednesday.
The new regulations will enable mask mandates and work from home policies for workers in the country. Such steps are taken under the recently launched “Plan B” of the UK administrative bodies to curb the pandemic in the country.
Undermined by accusations that his staff partied at Downing Street during a Christmas lockdown last year, the PM said Omicron was spreading rapidly, leaving him with no other choice but to move to "Plan B" while a vaccine booster programme rolls out.
"While the picture may get better, and I sincerely hope that it will, we know that the remorseless logic of exponential growth could lead to a big rise in hospitalisations and therefore, sadly, in deaths," Johnson told.
Seeing the new restrictions, many lawmakers in Johnson's own party have also been angry with the new restrictions, fearing the impact they will have after the economy shrank by a historic 10 per cent last year.
Read for more Covid-19 UK updates: Omicron: PM Johnson release new guidelines for international students.
Johnson had earlier planned to avoid a fourth Covid-19 lockdown and has implemented every proper action to control the spread of the virus.
Whilst the administration hasn’t got the overall control of the new variant, the PM has introduced the “Plan B” in the country to prevent any future mishaps.
Under the new restrictions, there will be reintroduction of masks on public transport and in public shops, supermarkets, theaters, shopping malls and other public places.
What's more interesting is that people will now be seeing working from home back again after a medium halt to the practice that came under fashion in the last one-and-a-half years.
Additionally, face masks will be required in all public venues such as theaters and cinema. Covid passes will also be mandatory for access to nightclubs and venues with large crowds.
"The new measures were required after 568 cases of Omicron were found," Johnson said.
Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, in a recent conference said officials estimated that the number of Omicron infections was actually around 20 times higher than the number of confirmed cases, meaning they could be closer to 10,000.
As the pandemic grew in 2020 and 2021, many businesses swiftly adapted to the new normal and worked from home in various sectors.
But now, as the reopening of businesses poses several benefits for enterprises, there is a new thread for business owners to cope with the old practices.
"The renewed 'work from home' order during the most important trading period of the year is a hammer blow for our retail and leisure tenants," said Jace Tyrrell, CEO of New West End Company.
Unlike previous lockdowns, there is also the unavailability of a job support scheme that has put fear in hundreds of workers.
A recent poll from Savanta ComRes suggests that some people may be less willing to follow new restrictions following the revelations around the Downing Street party.
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A leaked video showed senior staff laughing and joking over explaining a gathering in Downing Street during a Christmas Covid-19 lockdown last year. Johnson has apologized.
The prime minister also said Covid restrictions couldn't last forever, and the country may require "a conversation" regarding further actions. At the same time, a large part of the population refuses to take vaccines.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their Covid restrictions and stricter rules.
In the last 24 hours, the UK registered 50,867 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the overall infection tally to 10,722,083, while 148 further fatalities raised the death toll to 146,592.
Also, 249 people have tested positive for the Omicron Covid-19 variant, which increased the total number of cases with this strain to 817, health authorities confirmed.