Stricter Covid restrictions could be announced for England – .

Stricter Covid restrictions could be announced for England – .

Prime Minister Boris Johnson provides an update on the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic during a virtual press conference at 10 Downing Street on March 18, 2021 in London, England.
Tolga Akmen – Piscine WPA | Getty Images
LONDON – The UK government could be set to announce more Covid restrictions for England amid concerns over the spread of the omicron variant, according to a report in the Financial Times on Wednesday.
The newspaper, which quotes three anonymous senior Whitehall officials, said sources told the newspaper the government decided to implement its so-called “plan B” of increased restrictions, including vaccine passports for adults. sites and an order to work from home.

The new restrictions could be announced at a press conference as early as Wednesday with regulations tabled in parliament on Thursday, according to government insiders speaking to the newspaper.

CNBC has contacted Downing Street for comment, but has yet to receive a response.

The move comes amid widespread concerns over the growing number of omicron Covid cases in the UK, where official data suggests 1,000 people a day are infected with the variant.

Experts commented this week that it could be a matter of weeks, rather than months, before it usurps the globally dominant delta variant.

Imperial College Professor Neil Ferguson, an influential epidemiologist among a cohort of experts advising the UK government on Covid, told The Times on Tuesday that early data suggests the number of omicron cases is doubling every ” three days or less ”.

‘Plan B’

Despite a continued rise in Covid cases in the UK (with 336,893 new cases reported in the past seven days), the government has been reluctant to trigger its ‘Plan B’ and has said it will only do so if Covid cases threatened to have a severe impact on the health care service’s ability to function.
The government said in November that if Plan B were passed, it would use the Covid pass (which designates individuals’ Covid vaccine status or a recent negative test, or recent recovery from Covid) to restrict access to certain public spaces , such as nightclubs and other crowded places, to fully immunized people.

“As part of plan B, the government plans to introduce compulsory certification of vaccines in a limited number of parameters, with specific characteristics. The government hopes that it would not be necessary to impose the certification of vaccines more broadly than these parameters, although this cannot be entirely ruled out. “, He said, adding that” if plan B is implemented, it could be short term in response to worrying data “.

Thanks to Covid vaccines, which reduce the risk of serious infection, hospitalization and death, hospital admissions in the UK remain well below previous peaks.

Still, the omicron variant is causing a lot of concern as more information emerges to allow health officials to paint a more complete picture of its risk profile.

Christmas party disaster

Critics of the government will likely see any introduction of more restrictive measures as a way to distract public attention from widespread media coverage of an alleged Christmas party that took place in Downing Street last year and which violated the Covid rules.

Downing Street denies that a party took place, but video was obtained by broadcaster ITV showing senior Downing Street executives joking about hosting a Christmas party and how they might answer questions from the press at this subject.

The emergence of a video in which staff joke about the Christmas party, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted never took place, could further undermine public confidence in the Christmas party. government and compliance with Covid restrictions.


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