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"Now is not the time to be complacent regarding COVID", says Council Leader

30 November 2021

"The emergence of the Omicron variant is a scary reminder that COVID-19 can still play havoc with our lives, therefore we must all step up our guard and not be complacent", says Cllr Gareth Roberts. 

Over the past few days several cases of the new variant were identified in the UK. Whilst urgent work is ongoing to fully understand how the variant may change the behaviour of the virus, with regards to vaccines, treatments and transmissibility, the government has announced temporary and precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the variant.  

From today (Tuesday 30 November 2021) face coverings will be compulsory in shops and other settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as on public transport unless individuals are exempt from doing so. Children, staff and visitors in secondary schools will also be required to wear face coverings when in communal areas.   

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Anyone who has been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the Omicron variant, will also be required to isolate for 10 days, regardless of whether that have been vaccinated.  

And finally, new countries have been added to the Red list, requiring a mandatory quarantine and all travellers arriving in the country will be required to take a PCR test on or before day 2 and self-isolate until they have received a negative test result. These PCR tests can be purchased from private providers. Free NHS tests are not valid for this purpose. 

Cllr Gareth Roberts, said:  

"This is a worrying development, and whilst we don’t know a huge amount about this new variant, the emergence of the Omicron variant is a scary reminder that COVID-19 can still play havoc with our lives, therefore we must all step up our guard and not be complacent. 

"We must all start testing more regularly, we must all wear face coverings and seriously consider our surroundings when we meet people, including ensuring indoor venues are well ventilated. I know it’s a touch nippy right now but it’s so important. And we must all get fully vaccinated or have the boosters when eligible.  

"We are hurtling towards Christmas. And the government have not 100% ruled out further measures.  

"We currently have some of the highest COVID case numbers in the London, so we really need to rally together. What none of us wants to see is a repeat of the uncertainty we saw this time last year and the potential to be plunged back into more restrictions in the New Year.  If we take sensible steps now, follow the rules, get vaccinated and keep on testing, that scenario is entirely avoidable."

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Up to: November 2021

Updated: 30 November 2021

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