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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to hold a televised press conference from Downing Street on Saturday evening after it was confirmed that two cases of the Omicron Covid variant have been found in the UK.
Two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant feared to have a higher reinfection rate have been detected in the UK, as the Government added extra African countries to the travel red list.
And now, the PM will address Brits at 5pm to give an update on what exactly that might mean for this country.
He will be accompanied by England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and his government's Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
The individuals and all members of their households have been ordered to self-isolate after one case was detected in Chelmsford, Essex, and the other in Nottingham.
Both cases are believed to be connected and there is a link to southern Africa.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said targeted testing is now being carried out, as travel restrictions were set to be introduced for Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola.
Revealing the cases, Mr Javid went on: “This is a stark reminder that we are not yet out of this pandemic.
“Getting the vaccine has never been more important – please come forward for your first jab if you haven’t already and if eligible, book your booster as soon as possible.”
'Vaccine resistant' Covid mutation reaches Europe from South Africa, scientists claim
The news comes as experts warn another Christmas lockdown is not off the cards this year if cases suddenly spike once again.
Prof Adam Finn, of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, warned: "We all need to be ready for the possibility of a change in the restrictions."
Prof Sharon Peacock, director of the Covid-19 Genomics UK Consortium, added: "Once a new variant of concern emerges, and it's fitter than the previous variant, it can be difficult to stop it going into a country unless you have very, very tight lockdown rules."
And in yet another worrying turn of events, Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency, labelled the Omicron variant, which is believed to have as many as 32 mutations, "the worrying we have seen".
- Boris Johnson
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