News Article

'Plan B rules' press conference

9 December 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has responded to growing coronavirus cases by implementing 'Plan B' restrictions in England.

During the  press conference, the PM revealed a number of changes and advice amid the rise of Omicron.

He said that “we can’t yet assume that Omicron is less severe than previous variants”, hence the move towards Plan B.

Here are 10 things we learned about the new Plan B rules and the Omicron variant from the press conference.

From Monday, the government will encourage people to work from home “if you can”.

The guidance was initially lifted on 19 July earlier this year, but will be reimplemented next week.

Boris Johnson said: “Employers should use the rest of the week to discuss working arrangements with their employees but from Monday you should work from home if you can.

“I know this will be hard for many people but by reducing your contacts in the workplace, you will help slow transmission.”

Face masks will be essential in more public places

Rules around face coverings will be “further extended” on Friday, to include “most public indoor venues.”

This includes theatres and cinemas.

There will be exemptions where it is not practical, the PM said, such as when exercising, drinking, eating or singing.

COVID passes will also be mandatory for certain indoor venues including nightclubs and sporting events

The vaccine passports, available on the NHS app, will be needed for entry into venues of large crowds.

This includes unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, and any venue with more than 10,000 people.

A negative lateral flow will be sufficient as long as the data is input in the NHS app.

Currently, the pass can be obtained with two doses of the vaccine, but Johnson said they “will keep this under review as the boosters roll out.”

Businesses will be given a week’s notice. This measure will come into affect next Wednesday.

No plans for mandatory vaccinations

PM Johnson dismissed the prospect of mandatory vaccinations.

Daily tests introduced instead of isolation

Daily testing will be introduced instead of mandatory isolation for those who come into contact with those infected with the virus.

The government wants to encourage uptake of jabs and boosters

The Prime Minister said that the “single biggest thing” that the public can do is “play your part” and get both vaccines, if not already done so, and a booster, when their turn arrives.

The Omicron variant is doubling every two or three days

Professor Whitty said that the rate is increasing “incredibly fast”, at a doubling rate of two and three days.

Christmas parties and nativities should not be cancelled

Under Plan B, PM Johnson said that Christmas parties and nativities in schools “should not” be cancelled.

No plans to dismiss hotel quarantine for red list countries

The PM said they would be looking at the red list and how it works, however the tough boarder measures have been “very important in the immediate response to Omicron… to slow the arrival of the variant in this country”

The new measures will be reviewed in early January.

Read more at: Chester Chronicle