The government has announced that mandatory mask-wearing is set to return to shops and public transport on Tuesday, amongst other rules.
The announcement was made at a COVID-19 conference held by Mr Johnson on Saturday 27 November.
Mr Johnson said: “We need to take targeted and proportionate measures now as a precaution while we find out more, and 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, as well as to help our HNS prepare for what is already a challenging winter.”
While COVID-19 case numbers have remained relatively high, there has been falling numbers in hospitalisation and death.
The new measures are being introduced as a precaution to slow down the spread of the Omicron Variant of COVID-19. This after two cases were found in the UK.
The Omicron variant (designated after the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet) was identified by scientists in South Africa, and it is spreading rapidly around the world.
It appears to spread rapidly and can be spread between people who are double-vaccinated. There is also a significant mutation, which means it diverges significantly from previous configurations of the virus. This means it might, at least in part, reduce the effectiveness of existing vaccines over time.
As part of steps to protect the UK from the variant coming in from Southern African countries, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, and Zambia have been added to the red list.
➡️Face coverings in shops & on public transport
➡️PCR tests for international arrivals
➡️Self-isolation for contacts of suspected Omicron cases
More info 🔽
— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) November 28, 2021
While the government has no intention of stopping people from travelling, Mr Johnson has said that the government will now need to “go further and implement proportionate testing regimes for arrivals from across the whole world”.
Anyone arriving in the UK will be required to take a PCR test by the end of the second day of their arrival and self-isolate until they have a negative result. And all contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status.
And domestically, the government aims to help contain the spread of this variant by tightening up the rules on face-covering in shops and on public transport, while the government’s vaccine experts consider whether to extend booster jabs to all over-18s.
The Prime Minister said the “temporary and precautionary” measures will be reviewed in three weeks, at which point there should be greater information about the continuing effectiveness of existing vaccines.
The latest figures show that 557 have people tested positive for COVID-19 across Oxfordshire, with 2 deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate. Over 1 million vaccinations have been given, with 574,000 first doses and 524,000 second doses.
Talking to Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that the mandatory mask-wearing is set to return to shops and public transport on Tuesday.
The Department for Education has told schools in England that pupils in years 7 and above, and visitors, are to wear face masks in communal areas.