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Live as Sajid Javid faces questions on Omicron variant and rules

Mr Javid faces journalists

Health Secretary Sajid Javid is on Trevor Phillips on Sky News from 8.30am and on The Andrew Marr Show from 9am.

Omicron is rapidly spreading around the world

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has appeared in an increasing number of countries.

The UK on Saturday tightened its rules on mask-wearing and on testing of international arrivals after finding two cases.

New cases were also confirmed in Germany and Italy, with Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong also reporting that the variant has been found in travellers.

In the US, Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, said he would not be surprised if the Omicron variant was already in the country.

An Italian who had travelled to Mozambique on business landed in Rome on November 11 and returned to his home near Naples.

He and five family members, including two school-age children, have since tested positive

In Germany, the Max von Pettenkofer Institute said the Omicron variant was confirmed in two travellers who arrived on a flight from South Africa on November 24.

The Dutch public health institute said the Omicron variant was “probably found in a number of the tested persons” who were isolated after arriving on Friday in Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa.

Israel said it detected the new strain in a traveller who had returned from Malawi and was tracing 800 travellers who returned recently from southern African countries.

And Australia said on Sunday its scientists were working to determine whether two people who tested positive for Covid after arriving from southern Africa are infected with the Omicron variant.