Face masks, vaccine passports and work from home rules set to last until the end of JANUARY

FACE masks, vaccine passports and working from home rules are set to last until the end of January.

But the harsh travel restrictions which force people to get a pre-departure test and another one on day two, will be reviewed before Christmas.

New laws will come into force in the next week which will bring in the PM's Plan B rules – here's what we know about what will come in and when.

  • On Friday MASK rules will be toughened to include almost all remaining public places like cinemas and theatres. This will be a tweak to the law – with the regulations emerging later today
  • From next Monday WORKING FROM HOME will be advised if you can. But this will be guidance, and not law
  • Next Wednesday VACCINE PASSPORTS will be introduced for crowded venues like nightclubs and footie stadiums. This will be a new law, introduced to MPs next Monday before a vote on Tuesday.

Ministers have confirmed that the new Plan B rules will be in place until January 26, when the new laws will expire.

If they want to extend it, they will have to tweak the legislation, and may have another vote in Parliament.

There will be a review on January 5, when MPs return to Parliament after the Christmas break, but it's unlikely they will be lifted if there's still rising cases of omicron.

Scientists reckon that may translate into more hospitalisations and deaths too, and are awaiting the data to see if this is the case.

It means people in England, where the Plan B rules will apply, face Christmas under the new restrictions.

The Government has also said that they will bring in daily tests for people who come into contact with omicro.

There's no date for that to come in yet, but No10 say they want to bring it in before Christmas.

They hope it will prevent another pingdemic, and help to catch extra cases of omicron, which is said to be more easily spread.

This morning Health Sec Sajid Javid defended the new measures in the face of huge Tory anger from MPs.

He said the decisions will have a "real impact on our liberties" but insisted that taking action now is the only way to avoid having to impose tougher measures later.

He said: "I don't enjoy doing that, no-one does – it is a very difficult thing for many people, asking them to work from home or wearing face masks and things, it is a real impact on our liberties.

"But I hope that people will understand that by taking decisive action now, we can potentially avoid action later."

MP Marcus Fysh described plans to bring in Covid health certificates as "really draconian" and an "utter disgrace".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that vaccine passports are "a massive imposition on our liberties".

He added: "It's a disgrace that they're pursuing that, utter disgrace."

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Former minister Steve Baker, a prominent figure in the Covid Recovery Group of Conservatives, said it is "vital" the "maximum number of Conservative MPs vote against Plan B"

And critics said the fallout from several parties and gatherings in Government last Christmas totally undermined their messaging.

Last night the PM's COP26 spokesperson Allegra Stratton resigned in tears after a leaked video showed her laughing and joking about an alleged Christmas Party during a mock press conference.

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