What are the new COVID plan B rules to tackle Omicron outbreak?

Covid Plan B
Adrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he was moving to his ‘plan B’ to combat COVID-19 in England, including guidance for people to work from home, in order to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Here are the key measures which Johnson announced. Separate rules apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Johnson said that people should work from home from Monday if possible. Employers should discuss their working arrangements with their staff during the remainder of the week to prepare for the change.


From Friday, Johnson said the legal requirement to wear a face mask or covering would be extended to most public indoor venues, including theatres and cinemas.

There is already a requirement to wear them in shops and on public transport.

Johnson said there would be exceptions where it was not practical, such as when eating, drinking, singing or exercising.

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Johnson said the NHS COVID pass would be mandatory for nightclubs and other places where large crowds gather.

He said they would be needed to enter unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any venue with more than 10,000 people.

He said that two vaccine doses or a negative lateral flow test would be sufficient for entry.

Johnson said that the mandatory vaccine pass would come into force in one week’s time.


Johnson said daily tests rather than isolation would be used for contacts of people who had contracted the Omicron variant.

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