Busy London street with shoppers wearing face masks

Government to take action in response to Omicron Covid-19 variant

The UK Government is to reintroduce mandatory face coverings in shops and on public transport, as well as measures for travellers returning to the UK, as part of proactive action against the newly-identified Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Temporary and precautionary measures will be introduced across the country, the UK Government confirmed.

Mandatory face coverings will come into effect in shops and other settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, alongside on public transport unless individuals are exempt.

Arrivals into the UK after 4am on Tuesday November 30, 2021, will be required to take a PCR test on or before Day 2 and self-isolate until they have received a negative test result. These PCR tests are available to be purchased from private providers.

Free NHS tests are not valid for this purpose, the UK Government has said.

Under previous rules, arrivals from most destinations into the UK were only required to carry out a lateral flow test.

Due to the structure of the new Covid-19 variant, PCR tests are expected to be able to detect and help track instances of the variant, helping support both central and local government public health teams to respond.

In order to prevent the further spread of the new Omicron variant of concern, all close contacts of anyone who has tested positive for the newly-identified variant will also be required to isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.

Health ministers from the G7, which is currently under UK presidency, are also to convene on November 29, 2021, to discuss the developments with the variant and further measures, if required, to stem the rate of transmission of the virus variant.

A Cleaner Air City Out Now

PSE Dec 21/Jan 22

A Cleaner Air City

Our December 2021/January 2022 edition of PSE delves into a number of key areas for public sector progress, including smart cities, research and development and social value and procurement. Equally read our exclusive interview with former Governor of Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley as he discusses smarter government and how technology can help achieve levelling up targets, while elsewhere we learn about waste management strategies.


View all videos
Learning & Development

Be A Part Of It!

3rd February 2022
PSE365: Learning & Development Virtual Event

PSE has created a full calendar of events to address the most important issues that influence the delivery of public sector services. 

Over 365 days you’ll have the opportunity to hear from a range of highly motivating, informative and inspirational speakers. These speakers will equip you with knowledge and unique insight to enable you to overcome the challenges that you face.

Magazine Feature

Keep communities at the heart of planning

Chris Borg, NALC policy manager

Chris Borg discusses the Planning for the Future white paper and explains the importance of residents and local councils having a say when it comes to planning

More articles...

View all