The government have released the following statement regarding the on-going situation around the new Covid variant – Omicron.

The 21 people identified on the Island as having travelled from countries that were yesterday added to the UK’s red list have now been contacted and testing for COVID-19 is underway. The results received so far have all been negative.

The UK Prime Minister this evening announced increased measures surrounding international travel into the UK, mandatory face coverings for public transport and retail settings, and additional measures around close contacts of new cases of the Covid Omicron variant.

In response the Chief Minister Alfred Cannan MHK said: ‘We have always said that we stand ready to act should a new variant of concern emerge. There is much still unknown about this new variant, but there are concerns on its transmissibility and the additional mutations which may have an impact on the vaccine effectiveness.

‘The changes in the UK that require arrivals from anywhere in the world to undergo isolation until they receive a negative PCR result will have an impact here on our island. For example, those travelling from outside the Common Travel Area. I have therefore asked for the National COVID Response Group to meet on Sunday morning and consider the position before recommending any changes to Council of Ministers who will also meet tomorrow. 

‘The overall message however remains that vaccination is important and boosters are extremely important and the UK has also said it will be looking to accelerate its programme.   We too will be considering all these aspects. The changes announced in the UK are precautionary and are hoped to be temporary in nature.’

The gov will provide a further update tomorrow.

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