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Pre-departure tests will again be needed for ALL international arrivals to the UK

All international arrivals to the UK will again have to take pre-departure Covid tests in a bid to sort out the Omicron variant, the well being secretary has confirmed.

All travellers, no matter vaccination standing, who’re visiting England, Scotland and Wales, or returning house after a vacation will be required to take both a pre-departure lateral stream or PCR take a look at beneath the new restrictions.

The measures, which Sajid Javid insisted are ‘momentary’, will come into drive from 4am on December 7 amid considerations about the Omicron variant spreading.

The UK Health Security Agency has now mentioned an extra 26 circumstances of the Omicron variant had been reported throughout the UK, with 25 of those in England, that means the whole variety of confirmed circumstances of the variant in Britain now stands at 160. 

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It comes simply someday after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps rejected calls for pre-departure tests to be launched, marking extra muddled messaging from Government ministers over Omicron measures. 

The Government had already launched a requirement for all UK arrivals to take a PCR take a look at on or earlier than the second day following their arrival in the nation. Travellers should self-isolate till they take a look at destructive. 

But at present, Mr Javid confirmed travellers will even have to take pre-departure lateral stream or PCR tests, saying the measures are being introduced in due to an ‘rising variety of circumstances linked to journey’.

In a tweet, the Health Secretary mentioned: ‘In gentle of the most up-to-date knowledge we’re taking additional motion to gradual the incursion of the Omicron variant.’ 

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The introduction of the tests has been described as a ‘devastating blow’ to the journey trade, with aviation officers saying the speedy change in entry necessities has made it ‘not possible’ for the trade to plan forward.

Nigeria has additionally been added to the purple checklist for international journey from 4am on December 6, that means all travellers returning to the UK will be required to quarantine on their arrival in managed lodging for 10 days.

The measures, which Sajid Javid (pictured) insisted are 'temporary', will come into force from 4am on December 7 amid concerns about the Omicron variant spreading

The measures, which Sajid Javid (pictured) insisted are ‘momentary’, will come into drive from 4am on December 7 amid considerations about the Omicron variant spreading

Mr Javid additionally urged the public to get vaccinated, saying ‘vaccines stay our first line of defence’. 

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Acknowledging that the new necessities are ‘vastly unlucky’ for those that have already got journey plans, he added: ‘We need to take away them as quickly as we presumably can.’

The Scottish Government has additionally introduced that travellers arriving in the nation will additionally be required to take pre-departure Covid tests from 4am on December 7 to assist gradual the unfold of the Omicron variant.

International travellers will have to present a destructive pre-departure take a look at taken two days earlier than travelling, as well as to a destructive PCR take a look at on or earlier than day two after arrival, beneath measures agreed on a four-nation foundation. 

The Scottish Government mentioned the modifications had been knowledgeable by a UK Health Security Agency threat evaluation.

Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson mentioned: ‘It is crucial we take steps now to preserve individuals protected, shield the rollout of the booster programme and cut back the possibilities of unsustainable strain being positioned on the NHS over the winter.

‘We have all the time mentioned it could be obligatory to shortly implement recent measures to shield public well being in Scotland, notably with regards to international journey, and these restrictions are proportionate and obligatory to that intention.

‘We totally perceive the influence the modifications will have on workers and companies in the journey and aviation sectors, notably as the new variant got here at a time once we had been starting to see some indicators of restoration. We will not preserve the restrictions in place any longer than is important.’   

Following bulletins from Downing Street and the Scottish Government, Welsh Government spokesperson confirmed it will additionally introduce pre-departure tests for travellers.

The spokesperson mentioned: ‘In line with the remainder of the UK we will be taking motion to transfer Nigeria onto the purple checklist from Monday and to introduce pre-departure tests for travellers into the UK and Wales.’ 

The requirement for pre-departure tests was greeted with anger and dismay throughout the journey sector – simply as bookings had been choosing up with the strategy of the Christmas break.

Tim Alderslade, chief government of the trade physique Airlines UK, mentioned the quickly altering measures meant planning for journey was turning into not possible.

‘It is untimely to hit hundreds of thousands of passengers and trade earlier than we see the full knowledge. We do not have the medical proof,’ he mentioned. 

‘The purple checklist extension made full sense – that is what it is there for – however we all know from expertise that blanket restrictions don’t cease the importation of variants. It’s already right here.

‘They’ve now modified their journey recommendation twice inside per week and it is simply not possible for anybody to plan. These measures should be eliminated as shortly as potential in keeping with the pace of the booster programme.’

And the chief government of the Airport Operators Association described the introduction of tests as a ‘devastating blow’ to the journey trade, saying it will function a ‘main deterrent’ to journey forward of the Christmas holidays.

She mentioned: ‘Pre-departure tests act as a significant deterrent to journey and most of the restricted remaining demand following the reintroduction of self-isolation will now fall away, simply as airports had been hoping for a small uplift over the Christmas vacation.’

Amid the crackdown on journey guidelines, Nigeria can also be being added to the UK’s journey purple checklist from 4am on Monday, becoming a member of a number of southern African nations, the well being secretary confirmed. 

Yesterday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured) assured travellers that pre-departure tests would not be introduced, marking more muddled messaging from Government ministers

Yesterday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured) assured travellers that pre-departure tests wouldn’t be launched, marking extra muddled messaging from Government ministers

‘Since we have now realized of this new variant our technique has been to purchase time. We have all the time mentioned we will act swiftly ought to new knowledge require it,’ Mr Javid advised broadcasters.

‘Over latest days we have now realized of a major variety of rising circumstances linked to journey with Nigeria. 

‘There are 27 circumstances already in England and that is rising. Nigeria now’s second solely to South Africa by way of linked circumstances to Omicron.’ 

Under the new guidelines, solely British and Irish nationals travelling from Nigeria will be allowed into the nation and should isolate in a government-managed quarantine resort. 

PRE-DEPARTURE TESTS ARE BRANDED AS ‘DEVASTATING BLOW’ TO TRAVEL INDUSTRY 

The introduction of pre-departure Covid for travellers getting into England has been branded a ‘devastating blow’ for journey by the chief government of the Airport Operators Association.

Karen Dee mentioned that the coverage, starting on December 7, will act as a ‘main deterrent’ to journey, notably forward of the Christmas holidays.

‘This is a devastating blow for aviation and tourism,’ she mentioned.

‘Pre-departure tests act as a significant deterrent to journey and most of the restricted remaining demand following the reintroduction of self-isolation will now fall away, simply as airports had been hoping for a small uplift over the Christmas vacation.

‘Travel and aviation are the solely sectors hit with any working restrictions in response to the Omicron variant. The UK and devolved governments ought to have performed the proper factor and, alongside the restrictions, introduced help for our companies and our workers to get by means of one other interval of shutdown.’

Meanwhile, the CEO of Airlines UK mentioned the Government’s speedy change in entry necessities has made it ‘not possible’ for the journey trade to plan forward.

Commenting on the choice to require that travellers to England take pre-departure Covid-19 tests, Tim Alderslade mentioned the choice was ‘untimely’.

‘It is untimely to hit hundreds of thousands of passengers and trade earlier than we see the full knowledge,’ he mentioned.

‘We do not have the medical proof. The purple checklist extension made full sense – that is what it is there for – however we all know from expertise that blanket restrictions don’t cease the importation of variants.

‘It’s already right here. They’ve now modified their journey recommendation twice inside per week and it is simply not possible for anybody to plan. These measures should be eliminated as shortly as potential in keeping with the pace of the booster programme.’ 

The announcement will be seen as proof of the mounting concern inside Whitehall of the risk posed by the Omicron variant. 

It comes simply someday after the Transport Secretary mentioned ministers don’t want to introduce pre-departure tests and unnecessarily ‘kill off the journey sector again’.

He insisted the Government has introduced ahead a ‘calibrated response’ to the new Omicron super-mutant variant ‘which does not take us proper again to the starting of this’. 

On The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast, he mentioned: ‘Lots of nations do require if you’re going to them for pre-testing. We usually are not requiring that at the second.

‘I heard the Leader of the Opposition calling for that from the despatch field at Prime Minister’s Questions this week.

‘Do you need to kill off the journey sector again, with out realizing that you simply want to? Or would you like to take the proper degree of calibrated response?’ 

 ‘And this Government thinks we must always take a calibrated response which does not take us proper again to the starting of this.’

But at present, he tweeted: ‘As the scientists work to perceive new Omicron variant we’d like to apply extra warning till image is clearer.

‘We admire this will be tough for the journey sector as we prioritise public well being & shield the progress of our world-leading vax & booster programme.’  

He additionally referred to as for additional motion together with rising the variety of booster jabs given to 500,000 per day. 

Meanwhile, Britain’s Covid disaster has offered a combined image at present with deaths falling however circumstances and hospitalisations persevering with to rise, in accordance to Government knowledge.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) figures present 127 individuals died with the virus at present, down 3.1 per cent on final Saturday’s whole of 131. 

But 42,848 new infections had been recorded in the nation over the final 24 hours, up 8.3 per cent on the 39,567 recorded final week.

It is the fourth day in a row circumstances have risen throughout Britain, with an extra 26 circumstances of the Omicron variant had been reported throughout the UK, that means the whole variety of confirmed circumstances of the variant in Britain now stands at 160.

And the variety of individuals admitted to hospital with the virus additionally elevated 5.6 per cent in per week to 812 on Tuesday, the newest date knowledge is on the market for.  

Another 75 circumstances of the super-mutant Omicron variant had been recognized in England yesterday and an extra 26 throughout the UK at present, deliver the whole variety of confirmed Omicron infections for the complete of the UK up to 160, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) mentioned.

Cases of the new variant had been recognized in the East Midlands, East of England, London, North East, North West, South East, South West and West Midlands.

Scotland’s circumstances at present elevated by 16 to 29, whereas Wales introduced yesterday afternoon that its first case had been present in Cardiff. No circumstances have been present in Northern Ireland.

NHS bosses revealed Britain’s accelerated booster programme to shield in opposition to the Omicron Covid variant will not begin for one other 9 days, with strain mounting on the objective to attain all adults by the finish of January.  

The Omicron variant has now been discovered in 38 countries but has not yet resulted in any deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)

The Omicron variant has now been found in 38 international locations however has not but resulted in any deaths, in accordance to the World Health Organization (WHO)

The UKHSA knowledge confirmed 372,577 booster doses had been dished out throughout the nation yesterday, taking Britain’s whole up to 19.8million individuals — 34.4 per cent of the eligible inhabitants. 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) mentioned that every one adults ought to change into eligible for boosters three months after their second dose — bringing down the wait time from six months.

But the reserving service for the jabs is but to be up to date and adults who acquired their jab three months in the past may be compelled to wait till December 13 to organise their third dose.

Ministers set a goal of allotting 500,000 doses a day to attain its January objective, but when capability isn’t ramped up till mid-December this will not be achieved till February 8 at the present tempo of the rollout.

Experts are hopeful No10’s ‘booster programme on steroids’ will assist forestall Britain’s rising Omicron infections translating into extreme illness, hospitalisations and deaths.

Meanwhile, scientists have claimed the Omicron variant could unfold extra simply than different Covid strains as a result of it shares some genetic materials with the frequent chilly virus and is extra infectious amongst kids.

A research led by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based knowledge analytics agency Nference, reveals the pressure accommodates a genetic sequence frequent in different viruses together with people who trigger the frequent chilly, and in addition in the human genome. 

By inserting this specific snippet into itself, Omicron may be making itself look ‘extra human,’ which might assist it evade assault by the human immune system, mentioned Venky Soundararajan, who led the research posted on Thursday on the web site OSF Preprints.

This may imply the virus transmits extra simply, whereas solely inflicting delicate or asymptomatic illness. 

Official data shows that the proportion of positive Covid tests with a mutation synonymous with the highly-evolved strain is on the rise. Like Alpha, or the 'Kent variant', Omicron has a specific alteration which means it can be detected through PCR tests without the need for genomic sequencing. The proportion of positive tests in England with this so-called S-gene dropout has risen from 0.1 per cent in the past week to 0.3 per cent, the equivalent of one in 330. Scientists said the increase in S-gene dropouts suggests there could be hundreds of Omicron cases that are flying under the radar currently

Official knowledge reveals that the proportion of constructive Covid tests with a mutation synonymous with the highly-evolved pressure is on the rise. Like Alpha, or the ‘Kent variant’, Omicron has a particular alteration which suggests it might probably be detected by means of PCR tests with out the want for genomic sequencing. The proportion of constructive tests in England with this so-called S-gene dropout has risen from 0.1 per cent in the previous week to 0.3 per cent, the equal of 1 in 330. Scientists mentioned the enhance in S-gene dropouts suggests there may be lots of of Omicron circumstances which are flying beneath the radar at present 

Meanwhile, South African officers warned greater hospital admissions amongst kids throughout the fourth wave of infections in the nation ought to immediate vigilance however not panic, will infections to date being delicate.

A lot of infants admitted with Covid final month in Tshwane, the metropolitan space that features the capital Pretoria, raised considerations that the Omicron variant may pose higher dangers for younger kids than different coronavirus variants.

Scientists have but to verify any hyperlink and have cautioned that different elements may be at play.  

Scientists don’t but know whether or not Omicron is extra infectious than different variants, whether or not it causes extra extreme illness or whether or not it will overtake Delta as the most prevalent variant. It could take a number of weeks to get solutions to these questions. 

CHILE CONFIRMS FIRST CASE OF OMICRON VARIANT 

Chile mentioned on Saturday it had discovered its first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in a traveler who arrived late final month from Ghana.

The traveler had supplied proof of a destructive PCR take a look at, however a further obligatory take a look at upon arrival at the airport proved constructive, well being authorities in the Valparaiso area mentioned in a press release.

They mentioned the passenger, who was not recognized, had had two rounds of Pfizer vaccine and appeared in good well being. The individual has been in isolation since arriving.

Other passengers on the identical flight are being retested.

Covid-19 has claimed greater than 38,000 lives in Chile to date. 

Cells in the lungs and in the gastrointestinal system can harbour SARS-CoV-2 and common-cold coronaviruses concurrently, in accordance to earlier research.

Such co-infection units the scene for viral recombination, a course of through which two totally different viruses in the identical host cell work together whereas making copies of themselves, producing new copies which have some genetic materials from each ‘mother and father.’ 

This new mutation may have first occurred in an individual contaminated with each pathogens when a model of SARS-CoV-2 picked up the genetic sequence from the different virus, Soundararajan and colleagues mentioned in the research, which has not but been peer-reviewed. 

The identical genetic sequence seems many occasions in one among the coronaviruses that causes colds in individuals — often called HCoV-229E — and in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, Soundararajan mentioned.

South Africa, the place Omicron was first recognized, has the world’s highest price of HIV, which weakens the immune system and will increase an individual’s vulnerability to infections with common-cold viruses and different pathogens.

In that a part of the world, there are numerous individuals in whom the recombination that added this ubiquitous set of genes to Omicron might need occurred, Soundararajan mentioned.

‘We most likely missed many generations of recombinations’ that occurred over time and that led to the emergence of Omicron, Soundararajan added.

More analysis is needed to verify the origins of Omicron’s mutations and their results on operate and transmissibility. There are competing hypotheses that the newest variant might need spent a while evolving in an animal host.

In the meantime, Soundararajan mentioned, the new findings underscore the significance of individuals getting the at present obtainable COVID-19 vaccines.

‘You have to vaccinate to cut back the odds that different individuals, who’re immunocompromised, will encounter the SARS-CoV-2 virus,’ Soundararajan mentioned. 

Meanwhile, a spate of hospitalisations in kids in South Africa has induced concern amongst specialists that the virus could be extra infectious in youthful individuals — though circumstances have been delicate to date.

Ntsakisi Maluleke, a public well being specialist in the Gauteng province that features Tshwane and the greatest metropolis Johannesburg, mentioned that out of the 1,511 Covid-positive sufferers in hospitals in the province 113 had been beneath 9 years outdated, a higher proportion than throughout earlier waves of an infection. 

Data in South Africa shows the R-rate has soared to over three per cent in recent weeks as Omicron took hold in Gauteng province

Data in South Africa reveals the R-rate has soared to over three per cent in latest weeks as Omicron took maintain in Gauteng province

‘We are comforted by clinicians’ experiences that the kids have delicate illness,’ she mentioned, including well being officers and scientists had been investigating what was driving the elevated admissions in youthful ages and had been hoping to present extra readability in the coming two weeks.

Since solely a small proportion of South Africa’s constructive Covid tests are despatched for genomic sequencing, officers don’t but know which variants the kids admitted to hospital have been contaminated with. 

Despite fears that the new pressure is well unfold, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed nobody has died with the new tremendous mutant Omicron variant regardless of the pressure being noticed in 38 international locations.

The US and Australia turned the newest international locations to verify domestically transmitted circumstances of the variant, as Omicron infections pushed South Africa’s whole circumstances previous three million.

India confirmed its third Omicron an infection at present, with circumstances additionally now noticed in Sri Lanka, South Korea and Malaysia.

And South Korea reported a file day by day 5,352 new Covid infections and 70 deaths, whereas a nationwide whole of 9 circumstances of the Omicron variant have been confirmed, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) mentioned on Saturday. 

The WHO warned it may take weeks to decide how infectious the variant is, whether or not it causes extra extreme sickness and the way efficient therapies and vaccines are in opposition to it.

‘We’re going to get the solutions that everyone on the market wants,’ WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan mentioned.

The WHO mentioned yesterday it had nonetheless not seen any experiences of deaths associated to Omicron, however the new variant’s unfold has led to warnings that it may trigger greater than half of Europe’s Covid circumstances in the subsequent few months.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid at present met with the World Health Organisation’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, describing it as ‘productive’.

Elsewhere, in a letter from NHS chief government Amanda Pritchard launched on Friday, it was revealed the booster reserving service would be up to date to replicate the discount of the time between doses to three months ‘as quickly as potential and no later than December 13’. 

In total 18million Britons have had a booster jab so far and, after yesterday's guidance change, all 53million adults over 18 will be eligible eventually. At the current rate of 2.4million jabs per week, it would take until March to get everyone boosted

In whole 18million Britons have had a booster jab to date and, after yesterday’s steerage change, all 53million adults over 18 will be eligible finally. At the present price of two.4million jabs per week, it could take till March to get everybody boosted

It mentioned the jabs would be delivered ‘in descending age teams, with precedence given to the vaccination of older adults and people in a Covid at-risk group first’.

And it confirmed that there have been ‘no provide challenges’ with both Moderna or Pfizer booster shares.  

While figures confirmed Covid infections have elevated in all 4 UK nations and stay shut to file ranges, although the newest rise isn’t linked to the arrival of the Omicron variant.

Around one in 60 individuals in personal households in England had Covid in the week to 27 November, up from one in 65 the earlier week, in accordance to estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The proportion of individuals in England who had been estimated to have coronavirus at the peak of the second wave in early January was one in 50.

This led to a surge in hospital admissions and deaths, together with a nationwide lockdown.

However, No 10 dominated out making vaccines obligatory, as has been seen in Austria and is being thought-about in Germany.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister advised reporters: ‘We’ve set out our coverage on this and we have mentioned it isn’t one thing that we might look to introduce.

‘You’re conscious of the modifications we made by way of social care settings and for NHS staff, given the significance of defending the most susceptible in our society.

‘But there is no plans above and past that in that regard.’

He added: ‘Our precedence is to proceed to promote vaccinations and promote boosters now that we’re rolling out increasingly more boosters to increasingly more individuals.

‘That is our precedence, that is our focus, and that is what we’re asking individuals to come ahead and take.’ 

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