VACCINATED adults face fines of up to £10,000 if they don’t self-isolate under strict new Covid rules.
Punishments will be dished out to anyone who fails to stay at home for 10 days after coming into contact with a confirmed Omicron case – regardless of how many jabs they have had.
The new Covid variant Omicron is spreading rapidly throughout the UKCredit: AFP
Brits will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace if they have mixed with a positive case and told to quarantine immediately.
Penalties for refusing to remain inside start at £1,000 but rise to £10,000 for repeat offences or serious breaches.
The new legislation came into force at 4am today in response to the rapidly spreading variant.
With only 14 confirmed cases so far in the UK, it won’t immediately affect too many people.
But experts fear there may actually already be hundreds of Omicron infections, with numbers on the rise.
This is because coronavirus testing misses around half of positive results, and only half of labs can pick up Omicron.
Just 20 per cent of samples are being tested for the variant, so most cases will be going undetected.
The new isolation rules run alongside a string of other new measures to help tackle Omicron before it spirals out of control.
This includes masks being made mandatory in a number of indoor settings, including shops and on public transport.
The list of venues which require you to cover up also includes some more surprising places such as takeaways and cars during driving lessons and tests.
Restrictions on international travel have also been tightened, with all people arriving in Britain from abroad having to take a PCR test.
Travellers must then quarantine until they get a negative result.
Ten more countries were also placed on the UK’s red list, including South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Infections in the UK have tripled in a matter of days after the mutant variant reached British shores last week.
The rising number of Omicron cases has sparked fears Brits could soon be ordered to work from home.
Dr Jenny Harries said Plan B – which includes whisking people out of their offices and back to home desks – would be sensible if more cases emerge.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) “has shown that if we have significant surges in Covid cases, then actually working from home is one of the key ones to implement and that’s why it is in Plan B”.
Dr Harries also suggested people reduce their social contacts as much as possible.
To stop the spread and keep Christmas on track, booster jabs are being rolled out to all over-18s.
Sajid Javid said a normal festive season hinges on people booking their third shots – and that it is a “national mission”.
“If we want to give ourselves the best chance of a Christmas with our loved ones, the best thing we all do is step up. roll up our sleeves and get protected when the time comes,” he said.