Boris triggers Plan B measures for England as Omicron skyrockets – .

Boris triggers Plan B measures for England as Omicron skyrockets – .

TThe government has announced new Covid-19 restrictions for England as worrying cases of the Omicron variant double every two or three days.

Boris Johnson announced the triggering of new restrictions, including vaccine passports for large sites and the reintroduction of working from home at a press conference on Wednesday evening.

It comes as leading epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson said a lockdown in January could not be ruled out if hospitalizations spike over Christmas and New Years.
Number 10, who discussed new measures on Tuesday to prevent the spread of the virus, did not earlier deny rumors he was considering implementing his “plan B”.
Professor Ferguson, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has said he would like ministers to introduce tougher rules as the third jab campaign intensifies.
“The number of cases is doubling at least every three days, maybe even every other day right now,” he told BBC 4’s Today program.
“To put that in context, it’s the same if not faster than what we saw with the original strain of the virus in March of last year, so that’s a concern. “
He added: “There is a correct rationale epidemiologically to try to slow this down to give us more time to mainly put boosters in people’s arms, because we believe that boosted people will have the best level of protection, but also to buy more time to better characterize the threat.
“If you imagine a plan B plus with working from home, that might slow it down. “
The first lab tests on the Omicron strain in South Africa suggest that it may partially escape the Pfizer jab.
The UK has some 440 identified infections so far – including more than 100 discovered in London – and it is “likely to overtake” the dominant Delta variant by Christmas.
Last year, Professor Ferguson became known as “Professor Lockdown” when his work was key to the introduction of the first nationwide lockdown in March 2020.
When asked if the UK might see similar restrictions imposed in January, he said ‘it’s hard to rule out anything’ and ‘it might be possible right now’.
He added that Omicron had been “detected in almost all parts” of the UK, but that the cases are highest in London, as the city which receives the most foreign visitors, and in Scotland where the variant could have been ‘seeded’ during the COP26 Climate Change Summit last month.
The government discussed the introduction of new restrictions on Tuesday. However, Cabinet would be divided over Plan B proposals for vaccine passports, homework and mandatory mask wear in more settings before new data comes to light.
So far, Downing Street has promoted stepping up the deployment of boosters as Omicron’s best protection.
An outbreak of the variant at a Christmas party in Oslo, where up to 120 revelers have been infected, has so far caused only mild illness, the Norwegian state epidemiologist has said.
The WHO has also said jabs should always protect people who contract the Omicron variant of extreme Covid.
Dr Mike Ryan, WHO Emergency Director, said on Wednesday: “We have very effective vaccines that have been shown to be effective against all variants so far, in terms of severe illness and hospitalization, and it there is no reason to expect this not to be the case. so for Omicron.


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