British Health Minister calls for “living with” the virus

UK Health Minister Sajid Javid © via Reuters

British Health Minister Sajid Javid said on Saturday the new restrictions would only come as a “last resort” in England, despite a string of infections with the Omicron variant. He said it was necessary to learn to “live with” the coronavirus.

Lawrence Turksource: Belgian

The UK, which is one of the hardest-hit countries with more than 148,600 deaths attributed to the pandemic, has a record number of infections day by day. On Friday there were more than 189,000 in 24 hours. Hospital admissions are also increasing, although the government says the omicron variant currently leads to less serious disease than the delta variant.

“The number of people in intensive care is constant. It will not go the same way it was last year during this period during the alpha wave,” Sajid Javid said in an opinion piece in the Daily Mail. The country is “in a much stronger position” thanks to the massive booster campaign. The government decided not to impose new restrictions during New Year’s Eve celebrations, unlike Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland The minister acknowledged that health services would “inevitably” come under pressure in the coming weeks, due to the “significant increase” in hospital admissions.

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The Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday that the government may decide in January to continue recommending remote work. This recommendation has been in effect since mid-December.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously indicated that the official goal of providing a booster dose to all adults before the end of December had been reached. More than seven in ten residents have already received the booster vaccine.

According to a study on Friday by UKHSA, Britain’s agency for infectious diseases and other threats to public health, patients with the omicron variant are 81% less likely to end up in hospital if they receive a booster vaccine, compared to unvaccinated people. The UK’s NHS has already announced that it is installing emergency infrastructure, with potentially hundreds of beds, to prepare for a “worst case scenario”.

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