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Third person infected with Omicron variant identified in UK

A third Covid patient in the UK has been confirmed as carrying the Omicron variant, health officials have announced.

The discovery of the new strain, which was first discovered in South Africa and has been identified in people travelling from the country, has prompted a host of new restrictions.

Face coverings will be obligatory in shops and public transport in England from Tuesday while people entering the UK from anywhere in the world face tougher testing requirements.

Earlier on Sunday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the situation is ‘nowhere near’ the stage where social distancing might need to be reintroduced.

He previously told families to plan for Christmas ‘as normal’.

The first two confirmed cases of the Omicron variant were detected in Brentwood, Essex, and in Nottingham, and both were linked to travel to South Africa.

A patient has been identified as the third confirmed case, although their location and travel history has not been disclosed.

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