New measures aimed at limiting the spread of the Omicron variant could offer a booster jab to millions of adults and children.
Experts from the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) may decide on Monday to give a booster jab to all people over the age of 18 and narrow the gap before the third dose, after the third case of the Omicron variant was detected on Monday. Britain.
JCVI deputy chairman Professor Anthony Harden said increasing the age limit for boosters and reducing the gap between the second and third doses was “a sensible strategy”.
It comes amid tightening restrictions by the government over the weekend, with face masks becoming mandatory again on public transport and in shops from Tuesday. Isolation rules for international arrivals will also roll back until they receive a negative PCR test.
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Overall global risk of omicron is ‘very high’ – World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that it rates the overall global risk of the Omicron variant as “very high”.
“The potential spread of omicrons globally is high,” the WHO said during a technical briefing on Monday morning.
It urged its 194 member states to report initial omicron cases and clusters to help them understand its spread, as well as speed up individual country vaccine rollout programs for high-priority groups.
Face masks ‘at this time’ not necessary in hospitality places – Government Minister
Health Minister Edward Arger has said he mandated face masks on public transport and in shops was “a proportionate and measured response” because these are “very limited spaces”.
He said he does not believe that face coverings should be mandatory in hospitality venues “at this point”.
But he added that because of the success of the vaccination programme, “we are in a very different place” from where we were this time last year.
Asked if more stringent restrictions would be imposed in the next three weeks, Mr Argar said: “It is not something I anticipate”.
Government acted ‘proportionately but fast’ – Health Minister
Health Minister Edward Arger has said the Omicron version is “concerning” and that the government has “taken precautionary steps” to limit the spread while it tries to understand how it works and interact with COVID-19 vaccines. does.
They told sky News There were currently three confirmed cases in the UK but he expected the number to rise, although “we do not know at what speed or by what number”.
Defending the government’s decision to impose new restrictions over the weekend, Mr Argar said: “I think we moved proportionately but rapidly … I think we have struck the right balance here”.
He said JCVI would announce about the booster rollout program “within the next few hours” and that the time between the second and third doses could be reduced from six to five months.