PM introduces Plan B restrictions in England despite party row

Boris Johnson announced mandatory mask wearing will be extended and that people should work from home.

PM introduces Plan B restrictions in England despite party row Parliament TV
Plan B: Prime Minister announces new Covid restrictions for England.

The Prime Minister has introduced Plan B Covid restrictions in England amid rising cases of new variant Omicron. 

On Wednesday evening, Boris Johnson told a press conference that mandatory mask wearing will be extended to cinemas and theatres, people should resume working from home and Covid passports will come into force from next week. 

The Prime Minister warned the new strain is “growing much faster” than Delta and cases of Omicron could be doubling every two or three days.

Johnson said that guidance to work from home where possible will return from Monday, and mandatory mask wearing will be extended to public places from Friday, however exemptions will be in place for when eating, drinking, exercising or singing.

Meanwhile the Covid health certificate will apply to unseated indoor venues with more than 500 attendees and outdoor venues with more than 4000 people.

The pas will come into effect “in a week’s time”, the Prime Minister told the press conference. 

The rule changes bring England’s restrictions closer in line to those in Scotland, where a Covid passport scheme was enforced from October 18. 

The changes were announced after Johnson faced questions in Parliament earlier in the day over allegations Downing Street staff broke Covid rules last year by holding a Christmas party.

The Prime Minister apologised and said he was “sickened and furious” by the video of senior aides laughing about a “cheese and wine” night.

At PMQ’s, Johnson said he asked the cabinet secretary to conduct a full investigation into the situation but added that no party happened.

He said that disciplinary action would be taken against anyone found to have breached regulations but said no coronavirus rules were broken.

Allegra Stratton, the Prime Minister’s former press secretary, later resigned after leaked footage showed Downing Street aides joking about a festive gathering.

Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, told STV News that if rules were broken, “appropriate action and strong action must be taken”.