New Covid-19 restrictions in London: Here’s everything you need to know

England pushes forth with Plan B restrictions two weeks before Christmas

England announced new Covid-19 regulations, often called “Plan B,” on December 8 after increasing cases of the new Covid variant, “Omicron.”

The first lot of new regulations came into effect last week, on November 31. It made face coverings compulsory in certain public spaces like shops, banks, post offices, hairdressers, and public transport for those not exempt and increased the self-isolation period to ten days if you were in contact with someone who tested positive for Omicron.

But stricter regulations were announced on Wednesday. Face masks will now be legally mandatory in most indoor venues. This includes all uni classrooms and Student Unions’ spaces but excludes places for eating or drinking. And from December 15, “a digital NHS COVID Pass, recognised international proof of vaccination, or proof of a negative Lateral Flow Test (LFT) in the last 48 hours” will be required to enter large venues like nightclubs.

With Omicron cases doubling every three days or faster and the public criticising his Christmas party scandal, PM Boris Johnson put forth the Plan B restrictions on December 8. He described the new rules as “proportionate and responsible, and will buy us time in the face of this new variant.”

In addition to stricter face mask and vaccination regulations, the government tightened travelling rules despite the upcoming Christmas break.

Students intending to travel should check the government’s safer travel guidance and be aware of entry rules for both their destinations and the UK. According to Plan B’s rules, those returning to campus from abroad will need a negative PCR or LFT result a maximum of two days before the flight back, take a Day Two PCR test after arriving in London, and self-isolate until they have a negative result. 

Also, international students are advised to not travel to countries on the government’s Red List as they won’t be allowed to return to the UK.

On how the new regulations will affect campus life, UCL’s Provost, Professor Deborah Gill’s released a statement stating they’ll “continue to follow UK government guidance and work with our own public health experts to review the safety measures in place on campus.” They encourage students to be tested twice a week with LFT, actively report any results to the uni, and get vaccinated.

Booster jabs are being offered to all legal adults, with the gap between the second dose and booster reducing to three months from six. We’ve listed some details about vaccination – and boosters for those qualified – below:

UCL students can get their vaccine or booster jabs at Bidborough House via walk-in appointments daily from 9 am to 6 pm. Those returning to campus from abroad can also get discounted PCR tests from “MyHealthChecked.”

KCL students can book vaccination or booster appointments at one of the vaccination centres on Guy’s Campus from 9 am to 7 pm daily.

Goldsmiths’ students can get a vaccine at Amersham Vale GP from 9 am to 1 pm, Wednesdays to Saturdays.

Overall, students are advised to regularly check their uni’s website for updates on campus rules and the UK Government and NHS’s website for the latest information. Everyone in England can also use NHS’s mental health helpline tool or reach out to their uni’s student wellbeing team to access emotional support if needed.

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