British Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined new coronavirus measures at a press conference on Wednesday.
The announcements come amid fears over new COVID-19 variant Omicron, whose doubling time in the UK is estimated “between 2 and 3 days,” said Johnson.
Johnson said England would “move to plan B” and reintroduce guidance to work from home from Monday as well as a requirement to wear facemasks, including indoors.
The UK will also introduce vaccine passports in some places, said Johnson.
For COVID-19 contact cases, daily tests will be imposed instead of isolation, the British leader said.
The new measures will come into force in a week time, he added.
They come as the government faces sharp criticism after a leaked video showed senior members of Johnson’s staff joking about holding a lockdown-breaching Christmas party.
The video has poured fuel on allegations that government officials flouted coronavirus rules they imposed on everyone else.
Several questions at the press conference focused on the allegations. “We’ve followed the rules throughout, on Dec 18 as well,” Johnson insisted.
He has ordered an inquiry into the allegations earlier on Wednesday.