Today at 10:30 am, The UK Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Professor Steve Whitty provided new omicron updates and advice to The Health and Social Care Committee in the House of Commons.
“I think that everyone can see this is moving very fast and this is highly transmissible,” Professor Whitty stated, “I want people to prioritise the things that really matter.”
The advice was echoed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he responded to the press while visiting the Saga vaccination centre in Ramsgate, Kent.
When questioned as to whether this is a lockdown by stealth, The PM stated “No, because what we’re saying is that this is very different from last year, what we have is the additional protection of the vaccines and the ability to test.”
While there have been additional regulations placed upon venues, the advice from the government is “Be careful and exercise caution if you want to avoid isolation and avoid getting unwell, get boosted now”.
The overall consensus from the CMO is to prioritise social events that matter. “It is sensible to cut down on interactions that are less important to them,” he stated this morning to the committee as he was pressed to say what events people should not go to. “I’m trying to avoid making other people’s choices for them.”
While the Government moves to Plan B, mandating face coverings in most public places, at large venues and events and on public transport, there is dissent brewing among the Tories in response to both the regulations.
Steve Baker, Conservative MP for Wycombe stated in his comment piece for The Telegraph on Saturday that “today’s Conservative Party is in the wrong place and heading in the opposite direction of Conservatism.” He argues that the Government is “panicking and rushing to impose restrictions again” which will see damage to individuals and the economy.
“If we panic every time there is a new variant, we will make entire sections of our society uninvestable, such as airlines, hospitality and tourism,” Baker stated.
If Tory MPs decide they are unhappy with the leadership of the party, a confidence vote could be triggered if 15% of Party members (54 votes) write into the 1922 Committee.
At this time, there have been no shutdowns imposed by the Government, the new regulations involve requirements for testing and isolating for those in close contact with someone with the virus, or who has the virus themselves. Furthermore, proof of vaccination, negative covid tests or exemptions are required for nightclubs and other venues and booster doses are available for people over 18 to pre-book.
“We’re not saying that you want to cancel stuff, we’re not locking stuff down,” The PM stated, “I’ll do whatever I have to do to protect the public.”
Professor Whitty believes that the next few weeks will see a “fairly impressive” rate of infection however, guidelines regarding working from home and prioritising one’s engagements will slow down the transmissibility if aided by the booster roll-out.
Image by Mat Napo via Unsplash.