About 14 cases of the omicron variant have so far been identified across the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new measures will “buy us time in the face” of the new coronavirus variant.

England imposed new restrictions to combat the omicron variant on Tuesday, with face masks again compulsory in shops and on public transport, AP reports.

Beginning Tuesday morning, all travelers returning to the U.K. must also take a PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result. Previously they had been able to take a lateral flow test and there was no requirement to isolate.

The reintroduction of mandatory face masks brings England closer in line with the rest of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — which had not relaxed coronavirus restrictions as much as England had done over the summer.

About 14 cases of the omicron variant have so far been identified across the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new measures will “buy us time in the face” of the new coronavirus variant.

Johnson’s government announced Monday it is expanding its booster vaccine program, with a booster dose to be offered to all those 18 and over three months after people had their second jab. Up until now, only people 40 or over and those deemed clinically vulnerable were eligible for a booster shot.

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