Omicron variant: London asks to work from home on Monday

Omicron variant: London asks to work from home on Monday

MISE & Agrave; DAY

A year after the start of the massive coronavirus vaccination in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced a tightening of restrictions to curb the spread of the Omicron variant, including the return to telecommuting and the introduction of the vaccination passport in certain places. & nbsp;

The announcement comes as the Conservative government comes under heavy criticism over a Christmas party that was allegedly held last year in Downing Street in violation of anti-Covid rules, sparking outrage in the country, one of the hardest hit. with nearly 146,000 deaths and more than 45,000 daily infections.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that Omicron is spreading much faster than the previous Delta variant”, with 568 cases identified so far in the UK, and an actual figure “certainly much higher”, said Boris Johnson during a press conference.

Stating that the number of cases due to Omicron seemed to double every two to three days in the country, and without prejudging the severity of the symptoms caused by the variant, the leader stressed that “this exponential growth could lead to a sharp increase in hospitalizations and therefore, unfortunately, deaths”.

“This is why switching to Plan B” restrictions in England is “the proportionate and reasonable thing to do”, time to speed up the vaccine booster campaign, he added.

As of Monday, the government asks employees to work from home again “if it is possible.”

The vaccination passport, contested by some members of the conservative majority, is introduced for the first time in England, in nightclubs and large gathering places.

Such a passport was already in force in Scotland which, like other British nations, defines its own response to the health crisis.

Antigen testing rather than isolation

To counter Omicron, the United Kingdom had already reintroduced measures such as travel restrictions, to the chagrin of the sector, and the wearing of masks in shops and public transport. The latter will now also be compulsory in cinemas and theaters.

At the same time, the vaccine booster campaign had been accelerated, with the objective of administering a third dose to everyone over 18 years of age by the end of January.

Since the country launched its campaign vaccination one year ago to the day, opening the dance of mass immunization in the West, more than 81% of the population over the age of 12 received two doses of an anti-Covid vaccine, and 37% a third.

Rather than having to isolate themselves as is the case now for contact cases of a patient infected with Omicron, they will be able to do an antigen test daily.

The fear is to see the economy crippled by an increase in people in quarantine, as was the case during the summer in the midst of the Delta variant outbreak.

The announcements come amid a political storm in the UK: Boris Johnson apologized on Wednesday and his advisor resigned after a video was posted in which she joked about a Christmas party allegedly held in Downing Street the year last, when the British were deprived of a family reunion.

While some opposition MPs called for his resignation, the Conservative leader announced an internal investigation and promised “consequences” for those who did not not followed the rules.

He defended himself in front of the press for wanting to divert attention. “Imagine if these measures had to be postponed due to political events of one form or another. What will people say then? ”He retorted, while his government has often been criticized for its reluctance to tighten the screws in the face of the coronavirus.

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