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Face masks mandatory from Tuesday as Cardiff Rugby team confirm possible ‘Omicron’ case

Face masks will become mandatory from Tuesday in shops and public transport across England.

Despite the new rules that Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed under plans to combat the new Omicron variant of coronavirus, he has told families they should plan for Christmas “as normal”.

Passengers arriving to the UK have been told that from 4am on Tuesday they will have to take a PCR test for Covid-19. This is also in addition to the expectation they will have to self-isolate.

Anyone who makes contact with a suspected case of Omicron will have to isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.

Mr Javid said the “face mask rules are planned to come in on Tuesday” to bring the nation back closer into line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

He said it “would be irresponsible to make guarantees” during the ever-changing pandemic.

Mr Javid has also downplayed there being a need to reintroduce social distancing rules, saying he expects us to face a “Great Christmas”.

“We know now those types of measures do carry a very heavy price, both economically, socially, in terms of non-Covid health outcomes such as impact on mental health,” he told Sky News.

“So if one was to make decisions like that they would have to be done very, very carefully and we’re not there yet, we’re nowhere near that.”

Mr Javid said he expects to receive new advice “imminently”, within the next couple of days, from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) after it had the task of reviewing whether boosters should be extended to all over-18s.

This comes as news today stated that the Cardiff Rugby are unable to leave South Africa following two positive COVID cases, one of which is thought to be the new Omicron variant.

Cardiff Rugby team said they continue to work with the South African Rugby Union, the Welsh Rugby Union and public health authorities both at home and abroad.

“The club are also continuing to work with all relevant authorities to secure the travelling party’s return to Wales when safe and appropriate,” the team said.

“Everybody concerned in this highly challenging situation would like to thank their families, friends, colleagues and the wider rugby family for their many messages of concern and well wishes.”