UK Homework Guidelines: Current Government Advice Explained
Boris Johnson’s government is implementing its ‘plan B’ to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, bringing social restrictions back to England to curb the spread of the new Omicron variant of the virus.
Having previously hoped to pursue ‘Plan A’ – encouraging the use of boosters – the prime minister’s hand was forced after a meeting of the government’s Covid operations committee last week in which the potential threat posed by the new variant plus transmissible was laid bare.
The UK confirmed the world’s first death from the new variant on Monday while Health Secretary Sajid Javid estimated the infection rate at Omicron was already around 200,000 per day, with the strain ahead become dominant in London within 48 hours.
NHS England meanwhile announced it will return to its highest level of emergency preparedness, a national level four incident, meaning the NHS response to Omicron will be coordinated as a national effort rather than led. by individual trusts.
All this given that 54,661 new cases of Covid have been recorded as part of official figures, plus 38 other deaths, a figure that has since been surpassed by the unprecedented 93,045 infections and 111 deaths announced on Friday.
As a result, face masks are now mandatory on public transport and in shops, cinemas, theaters and places of worship, an NHS Covid Pass is required to enter crowded places and booster vaccines are gradually being made available. of all adults, not just the elderly and vulnerable.
But perhaps the most important new measure for many is the return of the order to work from home.
Experts at the government’s science advisory group for emergencies (Sage) have been calling for the measure for at least last week, while others have been recommending it for as long as in October.
Taking time out on his firefighting agenda, the Tory second-job scandals and illicit Downing Street Christmas parties – and his wife entering labor for the second time – Mr Johnson said in a press conference last wednesday:.
âStarting Monday, you should work from home if you can. Go to work if you have to, but work from home if you can. I know this will be difficult for a lot of people, but by reducing your contact in the workplace you will help slow down the transmission. “
This will be the case for at least six weeks but the inventory will be reviewed on Wednesday January 5, 2022, according to Mr. Javid, even if there are fears that the current restrictions will be extended or even replaced by more severe measures of the “Plan C” if Covid-19 strikes again during the holiday season, as increased indoor socialization in mixed groups presents the ideal conditions for its spread.
So much remains unknown about the exact nature of the Omicron variant, but with the coronavirus infection rate in the UK already high, despite the impressive rollout of vaccines in Britain during 2021, the prospect of new ones cases resulting in a high number of hospitalizations or deaths is real. , a scenario that could once again put the NHS under intense pressure.
Mr Johnson made a cautious note at his press conference and said: ‘We cannot yet assume that Omicron is less severe than previous variants.
âSo while the picture may improve, and I sincerely hope it will, we know that the relentless logic of exponential growth could lead to a sharp increase in hospitalizations and therefore, sadly, deaths.
“This is why it is now proportionate and responsible to switch to Plan B in England while continuing to work closely with our colleagues in the decentralized administrations, in order to slow the spread of the virus, to gain time to obtain even more boosters in weapons, especially in the elderly and the most vulnerable.
The decision was not taken lightly as the detrimental effects of the policy on the mental health and well-being of individuals are well documented, as is its detrimental effect on businesses, especially services adjacent to offices such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, dry cleaners and gyms. .
Many offices across the country have welcomed staff to their desks for about two to three days a week since the easing of restrictions on July 19 – formerly known as “Freedom Day” – and the reversal will be a A blow to many people who were thrilled to meet their colleagues in person after a year of Zoom meetings and Slack messages conducted in isolation from guest rooms and kitchen tables.