Lancashire health officials said the reintroduction of face masks was “a small price to pay” to avoid further restrictions.
It comes as the government has reintroduced several new Covid measures in light of the Omicron variant.
From today (Tuesday, November 30), face masks will be mandatory in shops and other places such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as on public transport.
Additionally, all travelers arriving in the country from 4 a.m. on Tuesday, November 30 will be required to take a PCR test no later than Day 2 and self-isolate until they have received a result of negative test. Free NHS tests are not valid for this purpose.
All close contacts of anyone who tests positive for the Omicron variant will be asked by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate for 10 days, whether or not they have been vaccinated.
READ MORE: Boris Johnson to hold press conference in Downing Street tonight as Omicron spreads
The UK’s vaccination program is also significantly scaled up in response to the Omicron variant, which was first discovered in South Africa.
It was announced on Monday that booster shots will be offered to everyone over 18, with the gap between the second dose and the booster being reduced from six to three months.
Those who show up for a booster will receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, as they generate a very strong immune response.
Children between the ages of 12 and 15 will also be asked to receive a second dose three months after the first, while people with severe immunosuppression will be offered a fourth dose of a vaccine.
The NHS is working at a steady pace to put in place this next phase of the immunization program and will indicate shortly how it will be carried out. This will include how booster injections will be given in order of priority so that the most vulnerable people are protected first, while also increasing the capacity to immunize millions more in a shorter period of time.
The NHS will contact people when it is time to book for their vaccine.
Infection rates remain high in Lancashire, mainly due to the Delta variant, with hospitals still receiving a high number of patients with Covid-19 and a significant number of other problems.
As Christmas approaches, the public health chiefs of Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool are urging residents to control the spread of the virus by following national guidelines and doing the simple things we have been doing throughout pandemic.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health for Lancashire County Council, said: âI strongly encourage anyone who is eligible to get vaccinated without delay.
“And if you haven’t shown up for your first or second vaccine, it’s not too late – it’s more important than ever to get the protection that vaccines offer.
“However, at present, vaccinations alone are not enough.
“The extra measures are not big restrictions on our freedom but – when combined with vaccinations – can make a big difference if we all follow them.”
Professor Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen’s director of public health, has urged everyone in Lancashire to follow the new measures to help control the spread of Covid-19.
He said: “I know a lot of people like to go back to some kind of normalcy, but I urge everyone to take the threat of this new variant seriously,” Professor Harrison said.
âA return to wearing face coverings in public places once again seems a small price to pay to prevent new restrictions from being reintroduced.
“I also urge anyone who has not yet received their booster dose, or even their first dose, to seize the opportunity now.”
Dr Arif Rajpura, Director of Public Health for the Blackpool Council, added: âFor some time now, I have been recommending that people be more careful than what was mandated – like wearing face coverings on public transport and in crowded places.
âI strongly encourage anyone eligible for a vaccine – whether it’s a first, second or booster – to come forward without delay. “
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