Nottingham becomes focal point of the pandemic following cases of the Omicron variant.

Nottingham locals have expressed their concern over the spread of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant as second case was detected in the area.

One of the first cases of the latest Omicron variant was first detected in Nottingham on Saturday, November 27.

The second case – a student at the University of Nottingham – was identified on Tuesday, November 30.

National changes to regulations have also come into force, with masks and new travel rules introduced on Tuesday, November 30.

With two of a handful of identified UK cases now located in Nottingham, residents have spoken of their concern about the spread of the new variant, first identified in South Africa, and the mandatory requirement to wear masks in shops and on transport.

Elaine Franks, 63 said: “We should have kept them, they should have never gone away, we should have stuck with Scotland and Wales. I don’t feel safe at all.”

Others spoke of their frustration about media coverage that some consider to be fearmongering.

Hannah Clarkstone, a 22-year-old retail assistant, said: “It turns people against each other and that’s partly the media’s fault.”

Her comments were in relation to controversial opinions surrounding the new restrictions and people working in the retail sector are having to encourage shoppers to comply, while potentially exposing themselves to the new variant.

The reimposed restrictions aim to slow the spread of the Omicron variant, giving scientists long enough to understand the new strain.

The government has also urged more drive-in testing and surveillance on the disease.

Speaking after the discovery of the first Nottingham case, Nottinghamshire County Council said: “UKHSA continue to lead the ongoing investigation into the confirmed Omicron variant case in Nottingham and we are working closely with them to ensure that all appropriate actions to identify close contacts and arrange testing are completed.

“As a precautionary measure, we are today conducting targeted testing at a school as part of our public health investigations.”

There has also been some public debate as to whether the government is doing enough to suppress the spread.

Clarkstone added: “The reason we’re wearing masks now was because the government’s actions weren’t good enough. Look at New Zealand’s government compared to ours.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said people will enjoy a “better Christmas” but speculation whether more restrictions will be required remains.