Globally we have been fighting the Coronavirus for nearly two years. In that time the Government has taken necessary steps to protect the NHS and save lives.
Last week we became aware of the Omicron variant that appears to be spreading rapidly around the world. It is very different to previous forms of Coronavirus, and therefore our vaccines could prove less effective against it.
Scientists are learning more and more about this variant every hour. But, it is early days and there is still a lot we don’t know.
Until we know more about the risks that the Omicron variant poses, the Prime Minister has taken immediate action to fight against it and keep you safe.
The Government has made it compulsory to wear face coverings in shops and on public transport.
All international arrivals will have to take a day two PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result. And all contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate for ten days, regardless of their vaccination status.
It has also been announced that all adults will be offered a booster jab to strengthen our defences against the Omicron variant this winter. As before, the NHS will call forward each age group in turn for their booster jabs.
We have seen the power of the vaccine and the good that it can do in protecting people against this ghastly virus.
The UK has had the fastest vaccine roll-out in Europe. We have also been ahead of Europe in delivering our booster jab programme, with almost 18 million delivered since the campaign began.
While cases have remained relatively high, our vaccine programme has ensured that hospitalisations and death rates have fallen.
I welcome the Government’s swift, precautionary action following the discovery of the Omicron variant. These measures will be reviewed in three weeks. But in that time I urge you to go and get boosted.
Already over 30,000 people in Cannock Chase have come forward to have their booster jab. So when you can, book your booster!