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COVID news live: Boris Johnson imposes new restrictions as Omicron data emerges – adviser Allegra Stratton resigns – Sky News

Coronavirus latest as Boris Johnson announces Plan B restrictions including face masks in more settings, COVID passes in large venues and working from home guidance; Australian deputy PM contracts virus after UK visit.
Australia’s deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has tested positive for the coronavirus while travelling in Washington DC.

Mr Joyce, who is fully vaccinated, said on Thursday that he had been experiencing mild symptoms and decided to get tested. He said he would remain in isolation while seeking further advice.
The deputy PM added the remaining members of his travelling delegation had tested negative.
It was not immediately clear what variant of the virus Mr Joyce had contracted.
Before arriving in the US, he had travelled to London and met with top officials there as part of a 10-day trip to discuss his government’s plans for regulating social media.
Mr Joyce told ABC Radio New England he was “very frustrated I’m going to be locked up in a room by myself for 10 days, but that’s part of the process”.
By Sam Coates, deputy political editor
Fewer than one in 10 people believe Number 10’s claim that no party took place in Downing Street last December during lockdown.
An Opinium poll for Sky News found 64% think a party did take place, 9% said it did not take place and 27% did not know.
This suggests the public is sceptical of assurances by Boris Johnson and the Downing Street spokesman over the last week that there was no party on 18 December last year while London was in Tier 3 restrictions.
The poll, taken earlier this week, reveals even 55% of Tory voters think there was a party in the face of the denials.
Separately, 65% of adults believe that COVID rules were not followed at the time.
Number 10 said an investigation into what happened in Downing Street in December will be conducted by officials reporting to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.
The spokesman was unable to say how long it would take, or whether it would be ready before Christmas.
Analysis by Beth Rigby, political editor
Boris Johnson is facing mounting pressure from senior backbenchers over an alleged lockdown Downing Street Christmas party and the move to “Plan B” COVID restrictions.
Conservative former chief whip Mark Harper led the criticism against the government as Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the Commons further measures were being brought in from Friday, including vaccine passports, a work from home mandate and extended face covering rules.
Mr Harper, chair of the COVID Recovery Group, told the Commons the government’s credibility over the last few weeks – over the Owen Paterson lobbying row and a Downing Street Christmas party last year – “has taken a hit”.
“Why should people at home listening to the prime minster and the secretary of state do things that people working in Number 10 Downing Street are not prepared to do?” he asked.
Tory MP William Wragg was heard shouting “resign” at Mr Javid after the health secretary confirmed the NHS COVID pass would be needed to enter nightclubs or large events.
And former cabinet minister Greg Clark said Mr Javid had “reversed his position and jumped the gun” as he said the data on hospital admissions “is not available yet”.
The Metropolitan Police said it will not investigate allegations of a party at Downing Street due to an “absence of evidence” and a force policy not to investigate retrospective breaches of coronavirus regulations.
“The Metropolitan Police Service has received a significant amount of correspondence relating to allegations reported in the media that the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations were breached at gatherings at No. 10 Downing Street in November and December 2020,” a statement said.
“All this correspondence has been considered by detectives in detail, as well as footage published by ITV News.
“The correspondence and footage does not provide evidence of a breach of the Health Protection Regulations, but restates allegations made in the media.
“Based on the absence of evidence and in line with our policy not to investigate retrospective breaches of such Regulations, the Met will not commence an investigation at this time.
“The Met has had discussions with the cabinet office in relation to the investigation by the cabinet secretary. If any evidence is found as a result of that investigation, it will be passed to the Met for further consideration.” 
In case you missed it, Boris Johnson yesterday confirmed his winter Plan B will go ahead from next week amid fears over the Omicron variant.
He insisted the measures are not another lockdown, describing them as “proportionate and responsible” in the wake of the latest coronavirus mutation.
But what are these measures – and when do they come into place?
Welcome to our live coronavirus coverage after Boris Johnson yesterday confirmed Plan B rules will be put in place in England from next week.
Thanks for following along today – it’s been a very busy day of news. 
Before you go, here’s a wrap-up of our top stories: 
Ben Bradley has confirmed he will rebel against the government in a vote on the new measures announced today by Boris Johnson. 
The restrictions are facing some Tory rebellion, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid heckled in the Commons earlier as he laid out the details. 
All travellers to Ireland are now expected to produce a negative PCR or antigen test – but not everyone has followed the rules since they were introduced on Sunday.

Since they came into effect, 100 people arriving at Dublin Airport have been referred to Gardai for failure to comply.
Those arriving without tests were required to undergo a COVID-19 test and quarantine. 
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