Coronavirus update: UK reports 141 more deaths
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Officials have detected 336 new Omicron cases since late November, and experts believe this total could soon become thousands. The new virus has come at an unfortunate time, as most of Europe and the US prepares to celebrate Christmas. Britons are eager to know whether the Government means to trigger Plan B, which would crack down on their freedom before the big day.
Will the Government trigger Plan B?
Ministers created Plan B Covid response to protect Britons if the pandemic became too much to bear.
In action, it could mean Covid certificates, mandatory mask use in more locations and work from home arrangements.
Omicron has the potential to push the UK over the edge, as scientists fear it could bypass immunity afforded by vaccines.
Today, health secretary Sajid Javid said it has now achieved community transmission.
He revealed some of those reported with the variant in the UK caught it locally, not from countries on the red travel list.
Mr Javid added the Government would do “everything in our power to strengthen our national defences”.
He added they would “be as prepared as possible for whatever this virus brings”.
According to one Westminster insider, however, the Government is not prepared to trigger Plan B yet.
They told the I newspaper the rise in cases is “almost inevitable” but wouldn’t be enough to convince ministers to engage a winter crackdown.
Officially, the Government has said it won’t consider implementing Plan B until Omicron increases hospitalisations.
Ministers are yet to make a final decision, however.
Insiders state the Prime Minister will deliver this by December 17.
The newest mask mandate will expire three days later, on December 20.
NHS leaders aren’t as relaxed about introducing enhanced restrictions and have warned the Omicron variant could add to the UK death toll without enhanced mitigation.
The real danger from Omicron is that it could exacerbate the current Delta panic, leaving NHS services in a desperate state.
Exhausted doctors and full hospital beds will ultimately leave people fighting for their lives when they shouldn’t be.
Doctors have urgently warned against waiting until “a crisis is reached”.
Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Paul Donaldson, a microbiologist serving as general secretary of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, said that “at the very least” Plan B should hinge on “a sustained increase in hospitalisations”.
He added waiting until crisis point would be “completely self-defeating” and put the NHS at risk of “meltdown”.
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