Covid-19: Javid to set out measures amid new variant and Netherlands tightens restrictions

1 month ago 15

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Sunday morning. We'll have another update for you tomorrow.

1. Covid measures to be set out amid Omicron variant

Health Secretary Sajid Javid is due to set out further details of new Covid measures later after two UK cases of the new Omicron variant were detected. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that face coverings would be mandatory again in shops and on public transport in England from this week. PCR tests for everyone entering the UK will be introduced and all contacts of new variant cases will have to self-isolate, even if fully jabbed. The measures, which include reinstating the travel red list with mandatory hotel quarantine for 10 countries, were "temporary and precautionary", Mr Johnson said. Our health and science correspondent James Gallagher looks at whether the measures will work.

Media caption,

Watch Boris Johnson set out new measures after two cases of the Omicron variant were found in the UK

2. Israel imposes travel ban

Countries around the world have been racing to contain the potentially more infectious Omicron strain first detected in South Africa. Israel is one of the latest countries to announce travel restrictions - the country is to ban foreigners from entering the country for 14 days and use surveillance to halt the strain's spread, according to local media. The ban is expected to come into effect at midnight on Sunday, following full cabinet approval.

3. Netherlands tightens partial lockdown

Tighter restrictions have come into force in the Netherlands, amid record Covid cases and concerns over the new Omicron variant. For at least the next three weeks, hospitality and cultural venues such as cafes, museums and cinemas must close by 17:00. The government says the curbs are critical to protect hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Meanwhile, some 61 people - who recently arrived on two KLM flights from South Africa - are being tested for the new variant.

4. South Africa says travel bans are punishment

South Africa has complained it is being punished - instead of applauded - for discovering the new variant Omicron. The foreign ministry made the statement as countries around the world restricted travel from southern Africa as details of the spread emerged. Its officials say South Africa should be praised for discovering Omicron, not hit with travel bans. The country first reported the variant on 24 November.

5. Deadline for US troops to get jabbed

Today is the deadline for the members of two key branches of the US military - the Navy and the Marines - to get Covid jabs. But thousands of America's armed forces members remain unvaccinated. Some 2.1 million people are part of the US military, including active and non-active members, and defence officials have warned that troops that refuse could face a range of consequences. Our explainer looks at what these could be.

Image source, Getty Images

And don't forget...

Wondering what the UK's rules and guidance are for face masks and coverings? Here's what we know.

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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Fast Legal Services in Dubai

Fast Legal Services in Dubai