Credit: Public Health North East

As of Tuesday 30th November, face coverings are now mandatory on public transport and in retail, with Christmas on the way and a new variant, Omicron, to deal with. 

The North East Directors Of Public Health have issued a statement regarding the new rules which are now in place:

Further changes have been introduced to help stop the spread of this variant, including a change to the guidance issued to schools and a requirement for international arrivals to self-isolate upon entry to the UK. They will have to take a PCR test within 48 hours of their arrival, and remain in isolation until they return a negative test. Furthermore, all contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

We know these measures are effective, and if we all do our bit, they will be effective against Omicron as well.

The three Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK – Moderna, Astra Zeneca, and Pfizer – offer very good protection from all known variants of the virus. At this stage, there is no reason to believe they won’t reduce transmission and serious illness from the Omicron variant as well. While we don’t yet know this for certain, we would urge everybody to ensure they have a first, second, and booster dose of the vaccine when eligible.

With the JCVI advising young people should be eligible for a second dose, and boosters be offered to everyone over the age of 18 just three months after their second dose, we need to see as many people as possible coming forward to make sure our levels of protection against all strains are as high as they possibly can be.

Omicron has been identified early and while it is a variant of concern, global cases remain low. Until we know more about this variant, we should all double down on our efforts to keep ourselves and others safe, as communities across our region have done to great effect throughout the pandemic.

North East Directors Of Public Health

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