No 10 rejects call for 8-day isolation for all UK arrivals – .

No 10 rejects call for 8-day isolation for all UK arrivals – .

DStreet owner has rejected calls from Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford to have travelers’ self-isolation period extended until the result of a test on the eighth day after arriving in the UK.

The extension of the requirements would have a “detrimental effect” on the travel industry, No.10 said.

Under current rules, passengers arriving in the UK from 4 a.m. on Tuesday will be required to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after entry and self-isolate until they test negative .
In the joint letter, the Prime Ministers of Scotland and Wales also called for a Cobra meeting involving the four nations of the UK – but Downing Street said there was currently none planned.
It comes as six cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant have been found in Scotland, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to nine, but public health experts say it is “very likely” that the number of cases will increase in the coming days.

Live updates


Professor Jonathan Van-Tam gives a technical update

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam started the technical briefing.
He said it was inevitable the world would get a variant of “heightened concern” and called Omicron a “new kid on the block.”
But he pointed to the “very high degree of uncertainty in our knowledge” but said that Omicron has “many mutations” and that makes scientists fear a possible effect on the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Uncertainties include transmissibility, disease severity and the effectiveness of vaccines against the new variant, he said.
“I don’t want people panicking at this point,” added Professor Van-Tam.

JCVI will hold a press conference at 3 p.m.

JCVI is due to hold a 3 p.m. press conference amid speculation that all over 18s could be offered booster shots as part of a major expansion of vaccine rollout.
It is also believed that the time between a second and a third dose could be delayed from six months to five.

South African president: world must resist unwarranted travel restrictions

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has denounced several countries for imposing travel restrictions on countries in southern Africa following the emergence of the Omicron variant.
He described them as “unwarranted” and “unscientific”.

Downing Street data briefing later today

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam will participate in a coronavirus data briefing at 3 p.m. following six more cases of the Omicron variant located in Scotland.
He will be joined by Professor Wei Shen Lim of JCVI and the Director General of the Medicines Regulator, Dr June Raine.

Downing Street responds to demands from Scotland and Wales

In response to requests from the Scottish and Welsh prime ministers for a Cobra meeting involving the four nations of the UK, Downing Street said there were no plans.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “We will normally confirm any plans for a Cobra meeting. Currently, there are no plans.
“We obviously speak very regularly to our counterparts in the decentralized administration and we will continue to coordinate our response with them. “
Downing Street has also rejected calls by Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford for the period of travelers’ self-isolation to be extended until the result of a test on the eighth day after arriving in the UK.
The extension of the requirements would have a “detrimental effect” on the travel industry, No.10 said.
The spokesperson said: “We believe the approach we have taken is commensurate with the evidence we currently have on this variant.
“The introduction of new isolation and testing requirements would have a detrimental effect on the individual travel industry and even on those who plan to travel. “

No surprise Omicron variant already in Northern Ireland…

Northern Ireland’s Minister of Health said the country was to be expected to have seen cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant before.
Robin Swann said: “Although there is limited evidence of the impact of the new variant, there are concerns that it has a large number of mutations, which means that there is a potential for the variant to be resistant. vaccines and more transmissible.
“At the moment, it is not clear whether this would be more serious in terms of clinical impact.
“At this precise moment, there have been no confirmed cases of the Omicron variant identified in Northern Ireland, but it is highly likely that this position will change in the coming days. “
The Public Health Agency is carrying out detailed risk assessments of some travelers returning from Red List countries and advising on any immediate public health action needed to limit its spread in Northern Ireland, the minister said.
“In light of the cases identified in England and Scotland, it is to be expected that there are already variant cases in Northern Ireland,” he added.

The government’s position on Covid and school nurseries

The government is not asking schools to cancel nurseries in the coming weeks despite the emergence of the new Omicron variant, the health minister said.
Edward Argar said festive school plays are “important for young people who have gone through difficult times” during the Covid pandemic.
His comments came as a poll suggested more than one in four (27 percent) elementary teachers said their school only plans to run nurseries online this year.
A Teacher Tapp survey of 1,711 primary school teachers in England found that one in ten teachers said their primary school had no plans to host a nursery this year.

Downing Street: the approach to face masks is “proportionate”

The prime minister’s spokesperson said the government’s approach to wearing a mask in public spaces was “proportionate”.
On why the government had not decided to make masks mandatory in pubs and restaurants, the spokesperson said: “We believe this is a measured and proportionate approach based on evidence we have so far.
“It seems likely but not certain that this variant is more transmissible than the previous variants, but we have no hard evidence and indeed no one has hard evidence of its impact on things like hospitalizations, deaths and injuries. vaccinated people.
“So we believe this is the proportionate approach to take under the current circumstances. “

Education ministry updates face mask guidelines

According to guidelines from the Department of Education (DfE), students and university staff must wear face coverings in common areas and hallways as part of measures to contain the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
Higher education institutions may also consider using face masks in “workshops, laboratories, offices, libraries, teaching rooms and lecture halls”, especially where social distancing is difficult to maintain, DfE said. .
The guide states: “We recommend that students, staff and adult visitors wear face coverings when moving around the premises, such as in hallways and common areas.”
The updated notice for universities adds: “We recommend that you consider whether to go ahead with the international educational visits planned at that time, recognizing the risk of educational disruption. resulting from the need for self-isolation and testing upon your return to the UK. “
It says international students traveling from Red List countries will be required to self-quarantine at a managed quarantine hotel upon arrival in the UK for 10 days.

Unlikely cases of Omicron linked to COP26 – Sturgeon

Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was unlikely but not impossible that six cases of the Omicron variant found in the country were linked to the Cop26 conference held earlier this month in Glasgow.
“We have no information at this time that any of these cases are linked to Cop,” Ms. Sturgeon said.


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