⚠️ New Covid-19 guidance and restrictions

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Message from the Mayor

Many of you will have already heard about the ‘Omicron’ variant of Covid-19 which last week was classed as a ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organisation.

Over the weekend, the Government followed this up by setting out the national response to the variant with a few changes to existing Covid-19 guidance and restrictions.

The main changes are:

  1. Contacts of those who test positive with the suspected Omicron variant will need to self-isolate for ten days, regardless of their vaccination status.
  2. Face coverings on public transport and in shops will be compulsory from tomorrow, Tuesday 30 November. Staff and students are also strongly advised to wear face coverings in communal areas in secondary schools.
  3. The booster vaccine will be rolled out to all over-18s, three months after their second dose.

  4. Anyone entering the UK will need to take a PCR test by the second day after their arrival and to self-isolate until they have a negative result.

  5. More countries have been added to the government’s ‘red list’ (Red list of countries and territories).

Understandably, news of a new variant and changes to government guidance and restrictions will be a cause for concern, but the best way to protect yourselves and your loved ones remains the same:

  • Get vaccinated – whether it is for your first, second or booster dose. Book online.
  • Wear a mask in public spaces – this will be mandatory in shops and on public transport from tomorrow, Tuesday 30 November, and strongly advised for communal areas in secondary schools.
  • Get tested – if you have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who is positive, get a PCR test. If you have no symptoms, get a rapid lateral flow test. 1 in 3 of us who have the virus don’t show any symptoms.

Like with any new variant, we don’t yet know everything about it and there is a need to reduce the spread to allow scientists time to find out more - and allow those who have not yet got their vaccine or booster jab time to do so. 

I’d like to say a huge thank you to all 221,000 of you who have come forward for your vaccine and continue to come forward for your second jab and booster doses. Thank you also to everyone for continuing to follow the latest guidance and for testing regularly.

We have all played a part in the great progress we’ve made, but Covid-19 is still with us and we must remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidance to keep Tower Hamlets safe and protect our loved ones.

Stay safe,

Mayor John Biggs

Booster change

Booster vaccine rolled out to all over-18s

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has updated its guidance in response to the Omicron variant of concern.

  • All over-18s in the UK will now be offered a booster vaccine, three months after their second dose. The booster will be offered in order of descending age groups, with priority given to the vaccination of older adults and those in a Covid-19 at-risk group.
  • 12-15-year-olds are now eligible for a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, three months after their first.
  • People with extremely weak immune systems who were invited for a third dose will now be offered a fourth dose, three months after their third dose. 


Vaccination offers the best protection

Covid-19 rates in Tower Hamlets are high. More than 8 out of 10 patients seriously ill in hospital with Covid-19 aren’t fully vaccinated.

Anyone aged 12 or over can book first and, if you are eligible, second or booster jabs online. Visit our website to find your nearest vaccination site.

Book a vaccination >


Stop Covid-19 hanging around

Covid-19 particles spread in the air like smoke. Take steps this winter to protect yourself and others from the virus:

  • Wrap up warm and meet up outside if you can. 
  • If you meet indoors, open windows and doors regularly to let fresh air in.
  • Take a test before visiting family and friends indoors, to help prevent the spread. 

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