Late last night, I was contacted by the U.K. Health Security Agency. I was informed that they have detected two cases of this new variant, Omicron, in the United Kingdom — one in Chelmsford, the other in Nottingham. The two individuals concerned are self-isolating, alongside their whole household, whilst further tests and sequencing is carried out, and contact tracing. The two cases are linked. Now we’ve been always very clear that we won’t hesitate to take further action if that is what is required. And today, I can announce one thing that we are doing immediately is carrying out targeted testing and sequencing of positive cases in the two areas that are affected. And secondly, we are adding four more countries to the red list, from 4 a.m. on Sunday, and those are Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia. If anyone has traveled to these four countries or any of the other recently red listed countries in the last 10 days, then they must self-isolate and take PCR tests. This is a real reminder to us all that this pandemic is far from over. And if there’s one thing that everyone can be doing right now is, if they’re eligible, please take your vaccine. Whether it’s your first shot, your second shot or your booster jab, if you are eligible, please take your vaccine.

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