Boris Johnson strains to remain upbeat as new Omicron variant forces rapid crackdown

Boris Johnson strains to remain upbeat as new Omicron variant forces rapid crackdown

Coronavirus, Boris Johnson

11/28/2021 4:31:00 AM

Boris Johnson strains to remain upbeat as new Omicron variant forces rapid crackdown

PM ‘confident’ that this Christmas will be better than the last as he announces a wave of fresh measures

Last modified on Sat 27 Nov 2021 22.11 GMTLess than a week ago, cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi took to the airwaves to predict that such was the progress of the vaccine programme, Britain would be the first big country to use vaccines to end the pandemic. Hours after he made those comments, scientists 9,000 miles away detected a worrying Covid variant that , just days later, prompted

to announce emergency measures that he had hoped would never be reintroduced.Thespeed at which Omicron’s initial discoveryhas led to the detection of cases around the world and the imposition of new restrictions has been startling. It is also a sign of desperation in Downing Street to avoid a lapse back into more severe restrictions, such as those the prime minister was forced to introduce – with great reluctance – last Christmas.

Even by Friday, with Whitehall officials scrambling to draw up options for the prime minister andcases emerging in Belgium and Israel, UK scientific advisers had concluded that the new variant was probably already here. “The predictions of the modellers are that, even if we haven’t yet found this virus on our shores, it will be there,” said professor Peter Openshaw of Imperial College London, speaking on Friday evening. Openshaw is a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group.

Travel restrictionswere immediately placed on the countries affected, but scientists were already pushing for swift action elsewhere. “Any border restrictions are only about buying time. So if we slap them on quickly but drag our feet in doing everything else, it really is a waste of time,” said Stephen Reicher, a member of the Sage subcommittee advising on behavioural science. “In fact, we are particularly vulnerable, given our acceptance of chronically high levels of infection/hospitalisation/death.”

Such has been the pace of Omicron’s emergence that it was little surprise when, on Saturday, the first UK cases emerged in Brentwood and Nottingham. Contact tracers were working over the weekend to find those they may have infected. Four more African countries were then added to the government’s red list. Yet Downing Street concluded more was needed.

Read moreA prime minister who has faced criticism for his grip and style over the past few weeks tried desperately to retain his optimism on Saturday as he announced further restrictions, including compulsory mask-wearing on public transport and in shops, as well as PCR tests and self-isolation for people arriving in the UK. “I’m absolutely confident that this Christmas will be significantly better than last Christmas,” he said.

The government has, in fact, decided not to implement some of the Plan B measures in its toolkit – such as working from home and vaccine passports, which are fiercely opposed by many Tory MPs. The change on masks in England actually brought it in line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where masks are already mandatory on public transport and many indoor areas.

The restrictions will also be reviewed in three weeks – another sign of prime ministerial hopes that restrictions could be eased ahead of Christmas. Equally, however, it leaves space to put further restrictions in place as more is known about the spread of the variant and its effects.

As with the Delta variant, the government believes vaccines – and the booster programme in particular – form its main line of defence. While the new variant may be able to evade vaccines in terms of infection, there are hopes jabs can reduce serious illness. It is understood that the government’s advisers on vaccine distribution are meeting over the weekend to agree that the booster programme should be offered to people younger than 40.

Professor Danny Altmann, from Imperial College London, was among those who said the move would be necessary. “Looking at the vast array of spike mutations, vaccine protection from neutralising antibodies will need to be as high as possible,” he said. “That means extending eligibility for a third boost across the age range as soon as possible. And of course, for a country where we only have about 75% [double] vaccinated, reaching out to the unvaccinated to get safe.”

Boris Johnson speaks alongside chief medical officer Chris Whitty at a press conference on November 27.Photograph: ReutersSome advisers have also been worried about the double whammy effect of Britain having to deal with both the Delta variant, which is still the dominant variant in the UK, and the new Omicron variant should it establish itself quickly here.

Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, pointed out the high levels of infection already in the UK – though hospitalisations are falling. Last Friday’s Office for National Statistics figures showed that about 1 million people in the UK currently have Covid.

Although the new restrictions are a reminder of the fragility of the path out of the pandemic, the battles against Covid since spring 2020 have also provided huge advantages in tackling Omicron. While the new variant was flagged on Tuesday, both Novavax and Moderna – two pharmaceutical firms that produced earlier vaccines – said they were already working on a booster that would target Omicron.

Some experts also said they held out hope that, thanks to vaccines, Omicron may not cause more severe disease compared with the Delta variant. As the new measures were announced on Saturday night, Whitty acknowledged that the nation needed to be thankful for the scientific endeavours of the past 18 months: “If I can make one Christmas plea? It would be that when people raise their glasses this Christmas, they do so to the extraordinary scientists who produce the vaccines, the diagnostics, the drugs which will allow this Christmas, if possible, to be in a very different place to what it would have been without them.”

Read more: The Guardian »

Louie Anderson, Emmy-Winning Comedian, Dies at 68

Louie Anderson, a comedian and actor, died at a hospital in Las Vegas of complications from cancer at age 68

They're starting to make mistakes. WHO just said that 'Omicron' was first reported by South Africa on 24/11/2021. However, WEF reported this EXACT same 'variant'-B.1.1.529. out of South Africa--way back in July How helpful for them a new variant at Xmas to cancel. “Boris Johnson strains” sounds more dangerous than the omnicron strain.

Christmas will be cancelled Why are you falling for this Ministry of Truth bovine ordure? O isn’t forcing anything. Toad is again using fear and demoralisation to control us for no good reason. If this shit worked there’d be a track record of success. Instead, abject failure. Give me SUGGESTION: PLEASE BIG FARMACY MAKE MEDICINE FOR NEBULIZER OR ORAL BASE ON SILVER. DON'T EXPLAIN OR HIDE USING SILVER ON THE COMPOSITION. IT WILL BE EXPENSIVE PRICE AND GET HUGE PROFIT. HIDE SILVER MINERAL WITH SELENIUM MINERAL TO AVOID INTERNATIONAL REGULATION. 🤣🤣🤣

I think he was pretty upbeat about Christmas this time a year ago... and we all know how that went... he's jinxed it again hasn't he?! 🤦‍♀️🤬😱 MaskUp😷 GetVaccinated 💉 Unvaccinated will have to lockdown… hahaha hilarious, I work in Whitehall it’s definitely going to happen .BorisJohnson's 'confidence' is as believable as his ability to string together two related thoughts.

If Boris thinks he can again separate us all at Christmas to save Easter well I really can't see that happening, firstly because he himself had an outsider stay at his home last Christmas, secondly I think after nearly 2 years most people have got bored of his constant diktat All got your masks on eh- just spent the last 5 months mouth clamped shut behind a paper mask barely breathing while half of you lounged about deep level Tube open mouthed gobshite.

Boris Johnson outlines new restrictions after Omicron variant detected in UK – video Boris Johnson has announced further measures to curb the spread of coronavirus after two cases of the new strain were detected in the UK Great to have the naughtiest schoolboy in the gang ‘outlining new restrictions’! I think there's no need for more restrictions , instead of that , the vaccination process must be enforced and accelerated. Where there is one there are 500

Colombia SECUESTRADA 🇨🇴 por el RÉGIMEN NARCOPARAMILITAR 🛑🆘❌ de AUV 💀 y el títere Duque. ALERTA 🆘🛑❌ CORRUPCIÓN Vs PetroPresidente2022 INMIGRANTES LATINOAMERICA PRESENTÉ 🌎☑️ There’s a ‘Boris Johnson’ strain? That figures. wow Get it done no lockdown 😡 Well rapid overreaction just incase .... 😳

Boris Johnson outlines new restrictions after Omicron variant detected in UK – video Boris Johnson has announced further measures to curb the spread of coronavirus after two cases of the new strain were detected in the UK. Why does it always look like he has covid?

Boris Johnson orders return to face masks and isolation to slow omicron variant🗣️ Mandatory face coverings will be reimposed in shops and on public transport, along with compulsory 10-day self-isolation for those who come into contact with positive cases of the new Covid-19 variant Should never have stopped wearing masks. For all those who are new to this working from home Bitcoin trading options Here's a little tip: Get a trusted Bitcoin expert and stick to her Alexander_Jenis Invest and play at similar times each day. Because : In times of chaos, your investment is your anchor to success

Boris unveils new plan to fight omicron variant save Xmas from lockdownBORIS Johnson has tonight unveiled a new plan to fight against the Omicron Covid variant and save Brits from a Christmas lockdown hell. The PM confirmed that it will now be mandatory for people to … New variant's spike mutation speculations are just scam. Don't believe anything what they say. Spike protein is still a protein that biontech vaccine still catches unless protein changes to smth else such as silicon or whatever. So fuck these reports. In the picture is BorisJohnson singing Don't you love farce? My fault, I fear. I thought that you'd want what I want... Sorry, my dear! And where are the clowns Send in the clowns Don't bother, they're here. StephenSondheim coronavirus COVID19 facemask Omicron B11529 Is he really saving Christmas or his own ass?

Omicron variant: the new Covid rules set out in Boris Johnson's speech🔴 Boris Johnson has taken swift action to try to tackle the onicron variant of Covid-19 that is causing significant concern among scientists.

Boris Johnson gives Poland’s populist prime minister ‘very odd’ thumb greetingMateusz Morawiecki visits Downing Street for migration talks Freemasonry Like a baby grabbing a grown-up’s finger Why not carve a Jewish homeland from Poland for those that were kicked out from there by Hitler ?