Boris Johnson hints at major coronavirus rule change as Omicron fuels mass staff shortages
Boris Johnson is looking at reducing the self-isolation period
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Boris Johnson has dropped a major hint a shakeup in the UK’s approach to coronavirus quarantining is on the cards. The Government is looking to relieve pressure on the NHS which is struggling with large numbers of staff off sick. Mr Johnson told Sky News there was an “argument to be had about the quarantine period, whether to come down from seven days to five days.
“The thing to do is to look at the science.”
“But what I would say to everybody is that you know, omicron is still out there,” he added.
“It’s incredibly contagious, everybody will know somebody who has had it, it can be pretty unpleasant.
“Sadly, as you know, 90 percent of the people who are in ICU with Covid have not been vaccinated and it’s absolutely crucial that everybody gets their gets their booster seats so big can make a huge, huge difference.”
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Mr Johnson also said the Government will continue to make lateral flow tests available “for as long as is necessary”.
“We are going to have to make sure we continue to use testing as one of our most important lines of defence for as long as is necessary,” he said during a visit to a vaccination clinic in Uxbridge.
“The other line of defence in addition to testing is of course getting vaccinated.
The boosters are going well. We have now done 36 million boosters – 90% of people over 50 – but clearly there is an opportunity for people who have not been boosted.”
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The Prime Minister warned: “We’ve got to make sure that we see off Omicron. We’re making great progress.
“[But] the 18,000 people with Covid currently in hospital…that’s massively up, and the numbers are increasing.”
Mr Johnson went on urge people who have so far refused a booster jab to do so.
“Loads of people have had two jabs but they haven’t yet come forward for their boost and I say to everybody: join the movement,” he said.
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The UK is moving to a point where the country can “live with Covid”, Cabinet minister Michael Gove said on Monday.
He told Sky News: “We are moving to a situation – we’re not there yet – but we are moving to a situation where it is possible to say that we can live with Covid, and that the pressure on the NHS and on vital public services is abating.”
“It is the case that we are in the next two or three weeks – perhaps longer – facing real pressure on the NHS, and our first responsibility at the moment must be to support the NHS,” added the Levelling Up Secretary.
“There are other coronaviruses which are endemic and with which we live – viruses tend to develop in a way whereby they become less harmful but more widespread,so, guided by the science, we can look to the progressive lifting of restrictions and – I think for all of us – the sooner, the better. But we have got to keep the NHS safe.”
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