Daily testing will be implemented from tomorrow, according to the latest announcement.
As of tomorrow, new Coronavirus rules in the UK will mean that rather than isolating, it will be compulsory to take a lateral flow test every day for seven days if you come into contact with anyone who has been infected with the virus.
This comes as the government also announces that all adults will be able to get a booster jab this week. Previously, they had been working their way through age groups and so far had offered booster jabs to all above the age of 40.
Said new lateral flow testing rules will be enforced from tomorrow, Tuesday 14th December.
In previous lockdowns, anyone who came into contact with someone infectious with Covid-19 had to isolate for ten days, regardless of whether their tests showed they had the virus.
New rules dictate that you don’t need to isolate immediately if you come into contact with someone – rather, only isolate if a lateral flow test comes back positive.
However, the rules only apply to those who have been fully vaccinated. If you haven’t been vaccinated, you will still have to isolate for ten days.
The recent changes come as a “tidal wave” of Omicron threatens to overwhelm the NHS.
In other coronavirus news, booster jabs will now be offered to all adults in England, prime minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday.
This has been brought forward a month as Johnson explained the need to “urgently reinforce our wall of vaccine protection” to prevent “very many deaths” from Omicron.
If you are over eighteen and had your second jab over three months ago, you can book your booster online from Wednesday or walk-in from tomorrow.
The government has already announced the implementation of Plan B restrictions, encouraging all who can work from home to do so as cases spike in the UK and requiring masks to be worn in all public places once more.
There were 2,953 confirmed Omicron cases in the UK yesterday, according to the UK Health Security Agency – the highest figure yet, showing a steep increase from last weeks figure of 261.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said: “The Omicron variant is quickly gaining ground in the UK and is expected to become the dominant strain by mid-December.”
“We are taking this proportionate and more practical measure to limit the impact on people’s day to day lives while helping to reduce the spread of Omicron.”
However, despite not being legally required to isolate if you show a negative result on your lateral flow tests, the Department for Health and Social Care has “strongly advised” anyone who comes into contact with the virus – regardless of their test result – to exercise caution.
They’ve asked that those people stay away from crowds, busy spaces and the more vulnerable.
Some research has suggested that the UK could see as many as double the number of Covid-19 hospital cases compared with last year given how “highly transmissible” Omicron is.