India Rose Marriott
Cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant are rising in the UK, with one confirmed case already announced at the University of Nottingham. Following rising concerns on the spread of the variant, Downing Street have now made it compulsory for face masks to be warn in shops and on public transport, unless individuals are exempt. India Marriott reports on the new Omicron variant.
On November 27th, the Health Secretary announced that the government became aware of two cases of the new variant, one of which has been discovered at the University of Nottingham. The cases are linked to travel with South Africa, and have led to additional targeted testing now being rolled out in Nottingham.
A University of Nottingham spokesperson said on Tuesday, “Whilst we do not ordinarily comment on individual cases, we can confirm that a student is among the increasing number of people reporting cases of the Omicron variant nationwide.”
The WHO has also labelled Omicron a ‘variant of concern’
“The student has been off-campus and self-isolating throughout the period of infection. We are supporting them in liaison with the public health authorities and wish them a speedy recovery.”
Cases across the UK of the new variant have now risen to 22, with fears this will increase further because of community transmission.
The WHO has also labelled Omicron a ‘variant of concern’, highlighting the serious nature of the emerging variant.
Alongside the reintroduction of mandatory face coverings in shops and public transport, the government has begun a push on its vaccine campaign, with booster jabs being offered to all adults by the end of January. Furthermore, PCR tests will also be required for anyone who wishes to enter the country upon arrival, and travellers will also be asked to self-isolate until they receive a negative test.
At the University of Nottingham, face masks are now mandatory in all indoor spaces, including libraries and study rooms. The University also has a weekly COVID-19 testing programme in place, and encourages all staff and students to take part in this, as well as isolating if they show any symptoms.
With the government’s new rules being reviewed in three weeks time, the PM has said “This variant is spreading around the world with two cases identified in the UK. It is very clear Omicron spreads rapidly.”
India Rose Marriott
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