More than 100,000 critical workers will be on fast track for lateral flow tests to halt halted essential services, Boris Johnson has announced.
The Prime Minister is fighting to prevent a rise in Omicron cases that have crippled the country as workers are forced into isolation or struggle to access the test.
Number of people who have tested positive for Covid in the UK passed 200,000 for the first time in the UK.
Experts say cases will start to decline next week.
Speaking to Brits this evening, Mr Johnson voiced his call to rally Brits to get a boost.
“Anyone who thinks the battle with Covid is over is, I’m afraid, deeply mistaken,” he warned.
“This is a time of extreme caution, but our position today is different from previous waves.
“We know Omicron is milder now than previous variants and while hospitalizations are growing rapidly, with more than 15,000 patients in UK hospitals alone, this has not yet translated into the same numbers needing special care.”
He said there’s a chance we can “get through this wave of Omicrons without having to shut down our country again”.
“We can keep schools and businesses open and find ways to live with this virus, but the coming weeks will be challenging in the UK and around the world,” he said.
‘WE CAN RIDE THIS CAR OUT’
“There’s no escaping the fact that some services will be disrupted by staff absences.
“We’ve been working all Christmas to prepare for this.
“If we all played our part, the disruption could be much less severe than a national strike with all the devastation it would bring to our children’s livelihoods and chances of survival. me.”
Critical workers in sectors from food processing to transportation and Border Force will be subject to side stream checks every business day from January 10, he said.
Kits will be sent directly to the institutions.
In another development, Mr Johnson warned footie fans and nightclub members will soon need all three dashes on their Covid passports.
Despite the rising super-stress cases, ministers are increasingly confident that hospitals will not become as overwhelmed as feared.
The Prime Minister yesterday said Omicron is “obviously lighter” than previous variants after studies showed it 70% less serious.
ONE third stab also greatly reduces the risk of becoming seriously ill – and The Sun’s Jab’s Army campaign is helping to get those vital boosters in everyone’s arms.
In the main developments:
Mr Johnson met with officials this morning to review the latest data before deciding to stop imposing any more harmful measures.
He is expected to stick to his work-from-home plan, wearing a mask indoors and a Covid passport – and boosters – when Congress returns tomorrow.
Ahead of the announcement, Health Minister Sajid Javid said this afternoon: “There is nothing in the data at this time to suggest that we need to move away from Plan B.
“I think Plan B, doing that, is the right approach and also has an absolute focus on immunization programmes.”
However, officials are facing urgent calls to cut the quarantine period from seven to five days to ease pressure on the absence of staff provided by Omicron.
Cabinet Ministers have been asked to have contingency plans ready in case key sectors struggle due to intense staff shortages.
Troops can even be deployed to fill the absence of key workers if needed.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “All departments have been asked to consider how they minimize large-scale absenteeism in their relevant workforces, by up to 25%.”
Children are also facing chaos on their first day back to school as teacher shortages threaten more closures and a resumption of distance learning takes a toll on students.
Tory MPs are among those calling for a reduction in the quarantine period to speed up the return to work.
But ministers say it could backfire dramatically and could lead to more infections in general.
Vaccines Minister Maggie Thgroup said: “We don’t feel there is a need for further reductions as we would be very concerned that people will still be infected and possibly transmit the disease.”
Ministers and experts are increasingly optimistic that doomsday predictions of flooded hospitals will be avoided.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of NHS Confederation, said hospitalizations appeared to be “probably already high in London”.
Leading professor Neil Ferguson also believes rates in the capital could level off after the Christmas peak.
“I think I’m cautiously optimistic that the infection rate in London in that key 18-50 age group, which has fueled the Omicron epidemic, may have dropped, it’s too early to tell,” he said. whether they decrease or not.”
And Oxford’s director of vaccines, Sir Andrew Pollard, praises that “the worst is behind us. We just need to get through the winter.”
Yesterday, there were an additional 157,758 cases of Covid disease and another 42 deaths.
https://www.the-sun.com/health/4395052/boris-johnson-lateral-flow-critical-worker-covid/ Boris Johnson announces 100k critical workers will get priority access to lateral flow tests to keep Britain going