England is bringing back public mask mandates in light of the new COVID-19 variant sparking fear across the globe. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the news late Saturday, saying mask mandates and stricter safety measures will go into effect again due to the Omicron variant, the BBC reports. Johnson also said even those fully vaccinated will have to undergo PCR testing before entering the U.K. and must self-isolate if they had any contact with new variant cases, which early evidence suggests has a higher reinfection risk. “Our scientists are learning more hour by hour, and it does appear that Omicron spreads very rapidly and can be spread between people who are double vaccinated,” Johnson said.
He called the measures “temporary and precautionary” and added that Christmas this year would be “considerably better” than the one prior. The prime minister also confirmed that two Omicron cases were found in the country.