The Health Secretary believes we will have a great Christmas despite concerns about the spread of the new variant of Omicron, reports ITV News reporter Chloe Keedy.
The masks will be mandatory from Tuesday in stores and public transport in England, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed under plans to combat the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
But he told families that they should plan for Christmas “as usual.”
The Cabinet minister said on Sunday that the situation “does not come close” to the need to reintroduce the rules of social distancing and work from home, despite the fact that a series of precautionary measures have been reintroduced to address the worrying tension.
What are the new Covid rules and what do they mean for Christmas?
Passengers arriving in the UK have been told that starting at 4 am on Tuesday they will have to take a PCR test for Covid-19, with the expectation that they will have to self-isolate until they test negative.
All contacts with a suspected case of Omicron will need to be isolated for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status, amid concerns that existing punctures will be less effective against the strain that is believed to spread rapidly.
Details of the plans were incomplete when Boris Johnson announced them after two cases of the variant were confirmed in England on Saturday, but Javid said “mask rules are planned for Tuesday” to get the nation back on track. more aligned. with Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
He said it would “be irresponsible to give guarantees” during the ever-changing pandemic, but told Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “I think people should continue their plans as usual for Christmas, I think it’s going to be a great Christmas. . ”
With the government failing to present its Plan B to address Covid-19 this winter, Javid downplayed the need to reintroduce social distancing rules or work from home.
“We know now that those kinds of measures come at a very high price, both economically and socially, in terms of non-Covid health outcomes, such as the impact on mental health,” he told Sky.
“So if you had to make decisions like that, you would have to make them very, very carefully and we are not there yet, we are not even close to that.”
Stronger Covid Measures Announced As Two Omicron Variant Cases Detected In UK
Mr. Javid said he expects to receive new advice “imminently”, in the coming days, from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) after he was tasked with reviewing whether the boosters should be extended to all those over 18 years. The group will also consider whether a second dose should be offered to children 12 to 15 years old and whether the waiting time before a booster shot could be reduced.
“I have also asked the NHS to prepare for a much larger capacity in our vaccination program,” Mr Javid told The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC. Javid said the testing regime for international arrivals will be introduced “as soon as possible.” Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland said they intend to mirror the border restrictions.
He admitted that passengers who were flying in from South Africa before 10 countries were added to the red list were not screened upon landing and could have taken public transportation to return home. “I think the speed at which we acted could not have been faster,” he said, adding that he had contacted those who arrived before the change and were told to get tested.
How did the government do enough to stop the spread of the Omicron variant? ITV News political editor Robert Peston also offers his thoughts on how normal Christmas could be this year.
Labor leader Lisa Nandy called on the government to tighten rules on international travel, suggesting that pre-departure flights might be necessary and advice on how to return from airports. “These are all things the government has been warned about for months,” she said. Heaven.
During an emergency press conference in Downing Street on Saturday, the Prime Minister announced that “temporary and precautionary” measures were needed after two cases of the new variant first discovered in South Africa were detected in Nottingham and Brentwood, Essex. . People and their homes have been ordered to self-isolate and specific tests are underway in areas where they are believed to have been infectious.
Variant of Covid Omicron – These are the new rules if you are coming to the UK
Johnson said the measures will be reviewed in three weeks, as he warned that Omicron appears to spread “very rapidly,” can be transmitted between double vaccinates, and may partially reduce the protection of existing vaccines.
He failed to announce his Plan B to address Covid-19 this winter, which includes the mandatory use of vaccination certificates in certain places and the reinstatement of the guide to work from home.
Government advisers to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said during a meeting on October 14 that homework is likely to have the greatest individual impact on the transmission of Plan B measures, which they said would have the greatest impact. if introduced. in unison.