The omicron variant is not a cause for panic – .

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The omicron variant is not a cause for panic – .


Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart Mark Drakeford have called on the government to go further with the new restrictions. In a letter to Mr Johnson, they called for eight days of self-isolation for all newcomers, a Treasury guarantee of increased financial support and a Cobra meeting to discuss omicron.

However, all three requests were rejected, with Downing Street and Mr Javid arguing that the measures were not necessary – although they stressed that nothing could be categorically ruled out in the future.

Mr Javid told MPs that if omicron was found to be “no more dangerous” than the delta variant prevalent in the UK, the new restrictions would not be maintained “a day longer than necessary”. On Tuesday, MPs will vote on the measures – but there was frustration on Monday that they did not have a say until after the legal changes took effect.

Details released by the government on Monday evening showed that the new face mask requirement would apply more widely than previously believed, including in barbershops and veterinary surgeries.

Greg Clark, Tory MP and former Cabinet minister, urged Mr Javid to “avoid panicking if we see an increase in infections in the coming weeks, as seems inevitable, and instead focus on the effectiveness of vaccines against serious illnesses and hospitalization ”.

Mr Javid said Mr Clark was “absolutely right to say that what matters for the future of this new variant are above all the hospitalizations”.

The Health Secretary also rejected calls from the Labor Party to make masks mandatory in pubs, restaurants and classrooms, telling MPs: ‘If we are to live with the virus in the long term, we have to follow the evidence and act in a proportionate and responsible manner if a variant has the potential to thwart our progress.

“And in doing this, we are taking a holistic view, looking not only at the impact of these measures on the virus, but the impact on the economy, education, and non-Covid health like mental health. ”

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