Covid-19 Variant Omicron & Mandatory Face Mask Wearing Announced by Government

Statement from Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz OBE

On Saturday 27 November, the Health Secretary and Prime Minister confirmed that two cases of a new strain of Covid-19 called Omicron have been detected in the UK; and announced that from next Tuesday mask-wearing will become mandatory in shops and on public transport once again. 

While mask wearing was already mandatory on London’s public transport; it is important as ever that we comply with these requirements when they come into force this coming week. 

There are growing concerns from scientific experts that the new Omicron ‘variant of concern’ is more transmittable, meaning it could spread more faster than the Delta variant which has had such a big impact on all our lives. As scientists investigate its risks over the coming weeks, it’s important we take the required precautions now. 

In Newham we have done all we can to support our residents and businesses during this time by trying to keeping infection rates low in our borough and reduce transmission in our community that has been so hard hit since the start of the pandemic last year. 

As we countdown to Christmas, we now need to do more together to keep case rates low in Newham and encourage more people to get their Covid-19 vaccinations, including the booster jab. 

The Covid-19 vaccination is available to all residents aged 12 years old and above and we have put in place a range of easy ways for you to book your appointment at local vaccination sites which you can do online. Just contact the NHS via its app or online:

We publish a weekly schedule of all our vaccination clinics including those that accept walk ins, you can find this on

You can also visit the drop-in site open today (Sunday) at East Ham Leisure Centre until 5pm. Anyone from age 12 upwards can turn up and receive a jab, without needing to book in advance. 

It’s absolutely vital that we all play our part as we can’t underestimate the devastating impact the new Omicron Covid-19 variant could have on our community here in Newham. 

From Tuesday 30 November 2021, you must wear your face mask when you are in any retail shop and on public transport; and keep up with the important public health guidance like washing your hands regularly, ventilate your homes and isolate if you have symptoms.

Let’s do all we can to support each other and keep Newham safe from Covid-19. 

Published: 29 Nov 2021