Friday, 19 August 2022 – 11:52

International travel and face mask rules tightened over Omicron concerns

Rules on international travel and the wearing of face coverings are to be tightened due to concerns over the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

In a press conference from Downing Street on Saturday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that ‘targeted measures’ would be taken, including requiring all arrivals to the UK to take a PCR test on the second day after their arrival, and to self-isolate until a negative coronavirus test has been received.

Rules on face masks in shops and on public transport are also to be tightened as a temporary measure to help stop the spread of the virus. 

The measures are to be reviewed in three weeks and have been described by the Prime Minister as ‘temporary and precautionary’. The announcement of the measures come after two cases of the new Omicron variant were confirmed in the UK.


What measures are being implemented?

  • All international arrivals must take a Day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative test result
  • All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status, and these individuals will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to inform them of this
  • Face coverings will be made compulsory in shops and on public transport from next week, though all hospitality settings will be exempt
  • The JCVI is to consider extending booster jabs to as wide of a group as possible.



For more on the new variant, check our explainer here.


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