Published: Friday, 10th December 2021
On Wednesday 8 December the Prime Minister confirmed that England will move to Plan B following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK.
- Face masks are now compulsory in most public indoor venues, such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship. There will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising. For that reason, face masks will not be required in hospitality settings.
- From Monday 13 December: People asked to work from home if they can. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go into work - for example, to access equipment necessary for their role or where their role must be completed in person. In-person working will be necessary in some cases to continue the effective and accessible delivery of some public services and private industries. If you need to continue to go into work, consider taking lateral flow tests regularly to manage your own risk and the risk to others. Find out more details about symptom-free testing here: https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/care-support-and-health/health-and-wellbeing/adults-health/coronavirus/testing/symptom-free-testing/individuals. You can take a walk-in, no appointment necessary, lateral flow test at Fairstead Community Centre, PE30 4SR, which is open Monday to Friday from 8am until 4pm. If you have Covid-19 symptoms please book a PCR test here: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
- From Wednesday 15 December: NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather – including unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.
- People will be able to demonstrate proof of two vaccine doses via the app. Having considered the evidence since the emergence of Omicron, proof of a negative lateral flow test will also be accepted.
- Vaccines and testing remain our best lines of defence. From this week, those aged 40+ can now pre-book their booster vaccination from three months since their second dose. This reflects the recent change in national and clinical guidance reducing the required interval between vaccine doses.
- The reduction in the gap between the second dose and booster vaccination means that there are now thousands more patients eligible for a booster vaccine across Norfolk and Waveney.
- To manage this immediate and rapid increase in demand for boosters and manage the flow of patients through local vaccinations sites safely, the local health and care system has taken the decision to temporarily pause all walk-in boosters thereby suspending all walk-in booster vaccination clinics.
- This means that, for the time being, patients cannot attend a vaccination site for a booster without having made a pre-booked appointment.
- The additional capacity released by suspending walk-in booster vaccinations will see hundreds of additional appointments for boosters added to the National Booking System, so local people will have more opportunity to find a pre-bookable booster appointment via the National Booking System.
- Those who have not yet have a first or second dose can still access a number of local vaccination sites without an appointment – search here for a local site for a first or second dose: https://apps.norfolk.gov.uk/WalkIn/
A full list of guidance on these changes is available on https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. Face covering regulations were laid in parliament on Thursday 9 December, with the remaining regulations laid on Monday 13 December.
Parliament will debate the measures next week, with a vote expected to take place on Tuesday 14 December.
The government will keep the data under constant review. The regulations set to expire six weeks after implementation, with a review after three weeks.