England new coronavirus restrictions

Emergence of a new covid-19 mutation in South African, UK has announced new restrictions.

Too little, and why the delay? Requirement to wear masks, will only come into force on Tuesday, and why only public transport and shops, though a small step in the right direction?

New measures include:

  • From Tuesday, face coverings will once again be compulsory in shops and on public transport
  • All contacts of suspected Omicron cases will be required to self-isolate for 10 days. This is regardless of a person’s vaccination status
  • Anyone entering the UK will require a PCR test by the end of the second day after their arrival and will need to self-isolate until they have a negative result. The change will be brought in “as soon as possible” following agreement with the other UK nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – the UK’s vaccine advisory body – will consider giving the booster vaccine “to as wide as group as possible”. It will also reduce the gap between the second dose and booster

Measures on mask wearing should never have been relaxed. Why does it not apply to hospitality, to places where people gather such as theatres?

Utter garbage from Hospitality UK, that mask wearing on public transport will hit public confidence. It is passengers not wearing masks that dents public confidence, that makes people reluctant to use public transport.

We need to be careful not to lump all hospitality together, a coffee shop or restaurant does not pose the same risk as a binge drinking bar or nightclub.

What we do know about Omicron, a new covid-19 mutation, is that it is highly transmissible, has large number of mutations, may not be recognised by antigens, which renders vaccines less effective. All the more reason to bring in measures to slow the spread. We saw how fast Delta spread when the government was slow to act.

  • place all countries in Africa on the Red list
  • random testing of all arrivals into the UK
  • mask wearing indoors and on public transport
  • work from home if possible
  • close nightclubs and binge drinking bars
  • social distancing
  • certificate double vaccinated to enter bars, coffee shops, theatres

The vaccine certificate would be scanned with a QR scanner to permit entry, green tick to enter, red cross not permitted, but if not permitted would advise what to do, for example vaccinated or a negative lateral flow test valid for 48 hours.

In Athens, require vaccine certificate double vaccinated which is scanned to enter bar, coffee shop, restaurant, theatre, shops. Failure to comply 500 euros fine, establishment 5000 euro fine and closed. To enter a building or travel on public transport mask wearing mandatory, 100% compliance.

Two flights from South Africa to Schiphol, sixty-one passengers tested positive for covid-19, of these thirteen were found to be infected with Omicron. Why was UK not acting as Schiphol, isolating and testing every passenger on flights from South Africa?

It should be a requirement, as is already the case for many countries, negative PCR test result within 48 hours prior to travel, in addition to negative PCR test and self isolation once in the UK.

UK has blocked relaxation of patents on coronavirus vaccines. UK is sitting on stocks of vaccines that it is unlikely to use. These stocks, within a month of expiry, should be shipped to poorer countries to help with their vaccination programmes.

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