Boris Johnson sticks to Plan B in an effort to «beat» Omicron without closing

BORIS JOHNSON HAS said there was a «good chance» it would not impose new restrictions in England to tackle the massive wave of Omicron cases.

Johnson backed sticking with the Plan B measures despite acknowledging that parts of the NHS would feel «temporarily fatigued».

The prime minister confirmed that he would call on his cabinet to adhere to guidelines for working from home, wearing masks and health travel permits for Covid in order to «survive» the wave of infection, but warned that anyone who thinks the battle against the disease is more than a «grave mistake».

With lab-confirmed coronavirus cases in England and Scotland surpassing 200,000 for the first time, Johnson acknowledged it was time for «the utmost caution» but argued that the booster’s release had given the nation significant protections.

«So, along with the Plan B actions that we introduced before Christmas, we have a chance to get out of the Omicron wave without shutting down our country again,» he said at a Downing Street press conference on the eve of the date to review the announced restrictions. Four weeks ago.

«We can keep our schools and businesses open and we can find a way to live with this virus.»

The Prime Minister agreed that the coming weeks would be ‘difficult’ and said ‘some services would be disrupted by the absence of staff’ as he pledged to ‘vaccinate’ the NHS to withstand pressure and protect supply chains.

critical workers

Under the measures, he said 100,000 «critical workers» including transport, police and food distribution workers would undergo lateral flow tests on every working day starting Monday.

«As the NHS transitions into war, tomorrow I will be recommending to Cabinet to continue Plan B,» he added.

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«Because the public has responded and changed their behavior and yours, buying valuable time to get boosters in the arms and helping the NHS deal with the Omicron wave.»

After urging how much more restrictions might be needed, Johnson said it «depends on being completely frank» about whether the strain first identified in South Africa behaves in a similar way to the one there and «how quickly it detonates.» » via».

«I would say we have a good chance of getting through the Omicron wave without needing further restrictions and without definitely needing a lockdown,» he added.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Sir Chris Whitty acknowledged that «some hospitals, some areas of the country» will come under «very, very great stress over the next two weeks» with large numbers of staff isolated due to infections adding to the usual winter stresses.

Mr Johnson realized the NHS was under «tremendous pressure» while hospital admissions were «high».

He declined to give a definition of what would constitute an overwhelmed service, but added that «different trusts and different places, at different moments, will at least temporarily feel overwhelmed.»

He also pledged to give «plenty of time» before changing the definition of a full vaccination to include a booster dose for a Covid health certificate to enter large venues.

«Unacceptable

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said it would be «unacceptable» to continue the booster shots every few months and that the program in the future would closely resemble the annual flu vaccines.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting accused Johnson of «complacency» as people struggled to get access to Covid tests and hospitals reported serious incidents.

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«There are serious pressures on the NHS, the prime minister has to be honest with the country about those pressures, and most importantly, outlining how he plans to address them,» he told reporters.

The press conference took place on the day that 218,724 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were recorded in England and Scotland.

It was the first time the recorded daily figure had crossed 200,000, although the figure was inflated by some late reports during the holiday period.

The latest NHS England figures show 15,044 patients with Covid-19 were in hospital on Tuesday morning, including 797 requiring mechanical ventilation.

The Johnson administration in Westminster adhered to the restrictions of Plan B despite the stricter restrictions that have been imposed in other countries in the UK.

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plateau

Prof Neil Ferguson, an academic at Imperial College London whose data was useful for the UK’s entry into lockdown in March 2020, said infection rates could already plateau in London and could drop across the country within weeks.

Member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee Sage told BBC Radio 4: «I would say that with the epidemic spreading so quickly and reaching such large numbers, it can’t maintain those numbers forever, so we expect to see the number of cases start declining next week, Maybe it’s actually going down in London, but in other areas one to three weeks.

“Whether they then drop sharply, or we see a pattern somewhat similar to what we saw with the delta back in July of the initial low and then a high plateau, remains to be seen.

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«It is very difficult to explain the current mixing trends and what the impact of reopening schools will be.»

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS consortium that represents health agencies, said putting staff in hospitals was «almost impossible» as leaders try to manage their resources.

He told Radio Times that for many the «most pressing element» was the number of staff absent due to Covid, adding that hospital admissions appeared to have stabilized in London or there could be a second peak after the new year now, but it was rising across the rest of Britain. «.

serious accident

Meanwhile, Chris Hobson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents health trusts, said at least «half a dozen» NHS hospitals had reported a serious incident as they tried to respond to Covid.

Morecambe Bay NHS Trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust were among those reporting serious incidents.

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health for Lancashire County Council, said today: “Lancashire is starting to experience what London did at the beginning of last month, and of course London has better resources and infrastructure is well organized compared to other areas, so we are preparing for a tsunami of Omicron cases. in Lancashire».

Hospitals in Greater Manchester said they would halt some «non-urgent» surgeries and appointments due to the «heightening impact» of Covid-19 and a staff shortage.

The Greater Manchester Joint Authority said hospitals had made the «difficult decision» as a temporary measure but that it would not affect cancer treatment, heart surgery, vascular surgery or transplants.

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