Great Britain
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Brits must wear face masks at hairdressers and nail salons from tomorrow or face fine of up to £6,400

FACE masks must be worn in hairdressers and nail salons in England from tomorrow amid fears the new Covid variant is running rampant.

Brits could face fines for failing to cover up - which could rise to £6,400 for repeat offenders.

Boris Johnson announced on Saturday the reintroduction of a flurry of restrictions to fight the rapidly spreading Omicron super-strain.

This includes making face coverings mandatory in shops and on public transport.

The full list of venues, to be released later today, also includes hairdressers, banks and post offices.

Those who fail to follow the rules will face rising penalties.

These will begin at £200, but repeat offenders will see their fines doubled each time up to a maximum of £6,400 if the same process is followed as during previous lockdowns.

Only those exempt for medical reasons, and children, will get off scot-free.

Government guidance advises people to wear masks in any crowded indoor spaces to stop the spread of the virus.

However, the rules do not include pubs and restaurants in the list of venues where coverings are legally required.

People are also being urged to take lateral flow tests before socialising - but this is not going to be enforced by law.

The restrictions form part of the government's plan to tackle Omicron, which originated in South Africa.

The variant prompted ministers to put 10 African countries on the UK's red list for travel - South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia.

Passengers arriving in the UK from Tuesday morning will also have to take a PCR test, with the expectation they will self-isolate until they test negative.

And all contacts with a suspected case of Omicron will have to isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.

The first two confirmed cases in the UK were confirmed on Saturday to have been found in Nottingham and Essex.

A third case was identified in London yesterday, and six further infections were declared in Scotland this morning.

Links to the variant have now been detected in a primary school, a KFC and a church in Brentwood, Essex.

While the number of confirmed cases in the UK remains relatively low, health chiefs fear there could already be hundreds.

More than 75 “probable” cases of the mutant variant have been flagged with more than 150 possible others, according to Government sources.

Ministers and scientists are now scrambling to work out how contagious and dangerous Omicron is, as it is feared it spreads more rapidly.

The UK Health Security Agency warned it was “very likely” further Omicron cases will be discovered in the coming days.

However, Health Secretary Sajid Javid dismissed calls for a further lockdown.

He said infections and hospitalisations were “nowhere near” the level required for restrictions beyond those announced by Boris Johnson at Saturday’s surprise press conference.

Mr Javid said the tighter restrictions on the border and masks for Christmas shoppers and commuters are needed to “buy time” to work out how bad the new variant is and whether it blunts the effectiveness of vaccines.

But Mr Javid insisted these restrictions would not spoil festivities and urged Brits to “keep making plans to see family and friends” — just like he is doing.

He said: “I think people should continue with their plans as normal for Christmas. I think it's going to be a great Christmas.”

Meanwhile, Covid booster jabs are expected to be offered to all over-18s in the UK in the coming days or weeks.

Brits flouting face masks in shops and on public transport ‘could be FINED’ from Tuesday as UK launches Omicron fight