It is crucial for government to be able to discern when it is time to move and when it’s best to wait.
This is an unfortunate test that the Government just failed.
The Government has jumped to Plan B and introduced a slew of new measures, including working at home, mask-wearing and claims for vaccination certification. This is what one can call a knee-jerk response. This could do great economic damage for very little profit.
These restrictions seem to be unnecessary, which I find deeply suspicious. Many other Tory MPs are also skeptical.
55 MPs have resisted the government in record numbers. Boris will have to rely on the Opposition for his policies, which is highly likely.
Last week, the Health secretary stood in front of the Commons to say that he wouldn’t trigger any further restrictions until he saw an increase in hospitalisations.
But we’re not there yet! Since November, the number of Covid-infected patients admitted to hospital has been steadily declining.
Omicron can be very contagious, however it doesn’t appear to be very infectious. It’s too early to know for certain.
David Davis says that ‘Plan B measures can be chaotic, confusing, or contradictory. Worse, in conjunction with the catastrophic loss of authority caused by ‘Partygate’, it is unlikely that many of the general population will obey. This is a tragedy in and of itself.
The possibility of the virus mutating was inevitable and the new mutation would multiply exponentially just as all others.
In short, last week’s response was nothing more than panic.
We must remember all the achievements we have achieved. Last year, the picture looked grim. Kent was rapidly spreading through the populace. ‘Tier Four’ restrictions were only days away.
The vaccine programme – a huge gamble – had only just started and had a long way to go in protecting our population. However, that was back then. Things are drastically different today.
A total of 89 percent of people over 12 years old have had their first vaccine. 81% have received a second.
New data has shown that the Omicron variant vaccine is less effective than two doses.
Early evidence suggests that the booster vaccines may be equally effective in preventing severe illness than the Delta version.
That’s why what we should be focusing on now is pressing on with the booster programme.
That campaign is well under way with more than 39 per cent now triple-vaccinated – including two-thirds of the over-65s.
While vaccines have been proven reliable and effective, there is no evidence to support the idea that vaccine passports can work.
France brought them on board in summer, and has now received more Covid cases that it did at its March peak. The number of cases in Germany, Greece and Austria that used them is also rocketing.
Passports would work in places where they were introduced. The picture here in England would look very different.
Not only are the vaccine passports ineffective, but they also pose a danger to public health.
More than 90% of vaccines prevent hospitalization. But they are much less effective at preventing you from transmitting your infection to your neighbours, and what protection there is reduces over time – a key fact which is incredibly important to remember and is why the latest restrictions make no sense
This is because people who have been vaccinated think of themselves as safe, and behave accordingly – reinforced by the fact that most or all of the symptoms of Covid are likely to be suppressed.
Vaccines can prevent more than 90% hospitalizations. But they are much less effective at preventing you from transmitting your infection to your neighbours, and what protection there is reduces over time – a key fact which is incredibly important to remember and is why the latest restrictions make no sense.
The introduction of vaccination passports will only increase this false sense security.
They’ll allow contagious persons to enter noisy and packed venues that are poorly ventilated and will spread Covid.
How is that ‘following the science’? It’s a Government-approved catastrophe waiting to happen.
While the government is encouraging us to work remotely, we still have to go to Christmas parties and see the nativity plays.
Newspapers are filled with jokes about how you have to act like you’re going to the office party to make it work.
Plans B measures can be chaotic, confusing, or contradictory. Worse, in conjunction with the catastrophic loss of authority caused by ‘Partygate’, it is unlikely that many of the general population will obey. It is tragic.
Public common sense allowed for the complex, poorly administered and confusing lockdowns to function. If you lose your common sense, and the community spirit, then the problem is out of control.
We should not be issuing useless diktats. Instead, let’s focus on finding meaningful solutions.
Since the earliest days of this pandemic, vaccines have been at the heart of our exit strategy – nothing has changed in this regard. The shocking statistics revealed by government data show that the number of unvaccinated patients in hospitals is significantly higher for every age group.
Vaccinations will play a crucial role against Omicron. To supercharge our booster program, we must use every lever of government.
Average daily doses are 440,000. Our daily average was 602,000 during the pandemic. Today we must take one million shots daily.
It means increasing capacity, availability, and making it easy for difficult-to-reach people to access the services they need.
We move closer towards normality with each booster and away from excess restrictions. We must also rapidly develop new treatments.
Pfizer recently announced that it has completed the trial for a new drug called Paxlovid.
Trial results showed that approximately 90% of the drugs were effective in stopping death and hospitalization. This could revolutionize the fight against the virus the same way that vaccines revolutionized the field last year.
Since the earliest days of this pandemic, vaccines have been at the heart of our exit strategy – nothing has changed in this regard. According to government data, the rate at which unvaccinated people are admitted to hospital is overwhelmingly high in all age groups.
However, antiviral drugs offer better protection than vaccines.
You can also take them at home, so they are easy to use. The NHS will be able to reduce the backlogs that are already in place and avoid suffering from the winter surges every year.
Combining our vaccine strategy with Paxlovid new treatments can be used to combat any increase in infection such as this one.
Paxlovid appears to be at minimum 90% effective.
I asked the Prime Minster ten days ago what the government was doing in order to quickly secure this treatment.
While the answer given was positive – we have secured hundreds of thousands of courses of the drug – it is nothing like enough. Remember, the Prime Minister’s own advisers are predicting a million infections by Christmas.
Were we not able to learn from the vaccination programme, and accelerate the approval process for these drugs therapies?
In January, a raft of potential drug therapies was under consideration, and some of the Government’s scientific advisers were advocating a fast development strategy and creation of drug manufacturing capacity such as that used for vaccines. It didn’t happen.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MhRA) is still awaiting the approval. It was praised because of its proactive and bold approach to approval.
Paxlovid or similar treatment must also be used immediately, even if late.
The destructive cycle of lifting summer restrictions only to place them back in winter is unsustainable.
We cannot afford to take further losses in our economy.
We may be facing more than one-million Omicron cases, according to Health Secretary.
Documents leaked from the Treasury in October suggest that the Plan B proposals would cause up to £18 billion worth of damage to the UK economy if in place for five months.
And research from the Institute of Economic Affairs backs up that cost, suggesting restrictions will cause a hit of £4 billion a month.
With further destruction, our high streets and independent businesses as well as the hospitality industry will all be wiped out.
The Health Secretary warned that we could have over one million Omicron cases before the end of this year.
These restrictions won’t stop it.
We must learn to live with the virus – and that means throwing out these ill-thought out, damaging and confused policies.