The most unwelcome news over the weekend of the newly discovered Omicron coronavirus variant has left us all with more questions than even the scientists can answer just now. But we’re told that there is a genuine fear that Omicron may be able to, at least partially, escape the vaccine. And we know that it’s already spreading rapidly around the world, with 9 cases identified in the UK so far.
Whilst we wait for more clarification from the on-going scientific testing, some new measures in England have been announced by the PM that we must all follow:
- All travellers entering the UK will now have to take a PCR test within two days of entering the country and will have to self-isolate until a negative test is returned.
- All those who have been in contact with a person who tests positive for the Omicron variant will have to self-isolate regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated.
- Face coverings will once again become compulsory in shops and on public transport in England from tomorrow. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland they are still mandatory on public transport and many indoor areas.
- But the government is not moving to its full “Plan B” and people are not being asked to work from home.
There’s different guidance in Scotland where the First Minister has advised people to continue to work from home whenever possible.
For members in Lloyds Banking Group: We’ve asked for an urgent meeting with LBG to discuss these latest developments and how they impact you. In particular, we’re concerned about moves to return staff to offices and the withdrawal from 1st November of the emergency paid leave policy. We’ll update members as soon as we can. Any queries should be sent to: [email protected]
For members in TSB: We'll be meeting with TSB to discuss these latest developments and how they impact you. The bank has updated its intranet page with latest guidance, and we'll continue to update you when more information emerges. Any queries should be sent to: [email protected]
In the meantime, it’s incumbent on us all to do everything we can personally to slow the spread:
- If you don’t have symptoms, take regular lateral flow tests before socialising or mixing with other households in any setting
- Get the vaccine or the vaccine booster when offered
- Wear a face covering where required
- If you have symptoms – self isolate and book a PCR test
- Wash your hands regularly and/or use sanitizer and cover your nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing
- Open windows when meeting indoors
- Keep your distance / limit close contact with people you don’t usually live with