New Covid restrictions: How Plan B rules will work and how they could slow the Omicron variant – iNews

Boris Johnson has announced a number of measures in an attempt to tackle the Omicron variant’s spread.
The number of people needing hospital treatment for Omicron could reach at least 1,000 a day in England by the end of the year if extra restrictions are not put in place, according to leaked minutes from Tuesday’s meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
At the same time, Delta hospitalisations are expected to remain stable, at about 680 a day – taking the total to around 1,700 and quite possibly higher.
“With the speed of growth seen, decision makers will need to consider response measures urgently to reduce transmission if the aim is to reduce the likelihood of unsustainable pressure on the NHS,” the minutes warn.
As such, the government felt it had to act quickly and soon introduce new ‘Plan B’ measures.
Chief among them are a call for increased home working, where possible, along with a requirement for Covid certification in some settings and stricter rules on face masks – all of which are effective measures.
Last week, face coverings became mandatory again on public transport, shops, taxis, pharmacies and hair dressers in England, bringing it in line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
On Friday, the requirement is expected to be extended to most crowded indoor settings, such as cinemas and live music venues.
Mask-wearing is the single most effective public health measure at tackling Covid, according to the first global study of its kind, published last month in the BMJ (British Medical Journal).
This found that the measure was linked to a 53 per cent fall in the incidence of the disease.
From Monday, anyone who can work from home, should work from home.
Working from home is a key plank of the government’s Plan B contingency measures aimed at protecting the NHS from “unsustainable pressure”.
Government adviser Prof Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, said today that telling people to work from home would allow more time to administer booster jabs.
He said case numbers of the Omicron variant were doubling “at least every three days, maybe every two days” and it was likely to overtake the Delta variant to become dominant in the UK before Christmas.
Put simply, working at home will go a long way to curbing transmission since many offices are high risk when Covid is widespread – often with poorly or even completely unventilated spaces with workers regularly sitting closely together for hours a day.
Vaccine passports have been introduced from next Wednesday for particularly crowded settings, such as nighclubs and unseated venues of more than 500 indoors, over 4,000 people outdoors and any venue of more than 10,000.
Two jabs – but not a booster – are required for the Covid pass while a negative lateral flow test will also be accepted.
Vaccine passports are a controversial measure because they discriminate against people who haven’t had a chance to be vaccinated yet – or who can’t or don’t want to be. But the acceptance of the negative test addresses that.
Scientifically speaking, vaccine passports are is clearly effective since vaccines are the single biggest defence against catching and spreading Covid.
But negative tests – if properly administered, which they often are not – can also be highly effective at curbing the spread of Covid.
Those notified by contact tracing can take daily tests and only isolate if they get a positive result.
The aim of this is to minimise disruption to daily life.
All rights reserved. © 2021 Associated Newspapers Limited.

source


0Shares

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *