A transport union is calling on the government to make it immediately compulsory to wear face coverings on all public transport as a precaution against the new “variant of concern.”
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association have called for the immediate compulsory introduction of face coverings across the public transport system on Saturday as the new Omicron variant has been detected in the UK.
General Secretary Manuel Cortes said the government has imposed travel bans for various countries and must go further to being in “the compulsory introduction of face masks.”
Cortes added, “It’s vitally important immediate precautionary steps are taken to do all we can to combat the spread of the new Omicron variant.
“The Government has already introduced travel restrictions to several countries but they need to go further. The Government should move swiftly to bring in more measures until we know more about this new strain.
“One thing which would help is the compulsory introduction of face masks on all forms of public transport.
“Ministers must know this is a no brainier because it will help to protect not only the travelling public but those brave transport workers, our members, who have stood on the front line throughout what is an ongoing pandemic.”
A spokesperson for Essex County Council said: “We can confirm that a single case involving the new Covid-19 Variant of Concern, Omicron, has been identified in Brentwood.
“This is linked to a single case from Nottingham involving international travel to South Africa.
“We are working with regional and local public health officers who are assessing the situation.”
England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has urged people to take “sensible precautions” on Saturday as the Omnicron is now in the UK.
He said, “We will continue to work closely with the international community to quickly gather and analyse information on this variant to understand any possible increase in transmissibility or resistance to vaccines.
“It is important that everyone takes sensible precautions – get a PCR test if you have symptoms, isolate when asked, wear a face-covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, ventilate rooms, get your vaccine and boosters as soon as you can.”