- Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced tighter travel restrictions in response to the new COVID-19 variant.
- Two cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in the United Kingdom.
- The Omicron variant carries a concerning number of mutations that could make it more transmissible.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday new restrictions for international travelers coming to England. They come after the United Kingdom identified two cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
International travelers must take a day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they get a negative result, ABC News reported. Face masks will also be required on public transportation and in stores.
Johnson said the UK government planned to take “targeted and proportionate” measures against the variant ahead of a “challenging winter,” iNews reported.
Regardless of a person’s vaccination status, any individual who is suspected of being exposed to the Omicron variant must self-isolate for 10 days, the outlet added.
The administrations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are expected to enact similar travel restrictions, according to iNews.
Two cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant were identified in the UK, the nation’s secretary of state for health and social care announced via Twitter on Saturday, as Insider’s Connor Perrett reported.
“The two cases are linked and there is a connection with travel to southern Africa,” UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said in a tweet. “These individuals are self-isolating with their households while further testing and contact tracing is underway.”
On Friday, the country established a temporary flight ban for travelers coming from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
Still, officials at the WHO, which named the variant one of “concern” on Friday, stressed that little is known about the new variant.
“This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning,” the WHO said Friday. “Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other” variants of concern.