Britain today was asked to shorten its Covid quarantine time to only five days and align its isolation rules with the US.
American officials canceled an order that required infected people to isolate themselves for 10 days last night. They can now leave at half-way, provided they don’t have any symptoms, and they are able to wear masks around other people for five more days.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bosses, insisted that the decision was based on science and maintained society’s functioning.
Experts today called on the UK to be like Omicron. Omicron has caused havoc in businesses during the Christmas season by forcing hundreds upon thousands of people to remain at home.
Union officials have warned of the dangers posed by the highly transmissible variant, which has been rapidly spreading. This could leave the NHS and other public services in a dangerous state.
Ministers have already shortened the quarantine period from seven to seven days. Covid sufferers will need to be positive at least twice during the first week.
Sir John Bell is an immunologist and has advised the Government about Covid. He said that Britain could replicate the US using lateral flow tests. The swabs were a “very good way to mark who is infected” according to Sir John Bell, who spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
Paul Hunter, an infectious disease specialist from University of East Anglia said Covid-infected patients should be allowed to “go about their normal lives” as with a cold.
He stated that No10 would have to loosen the rules completely at some point and suggested it could be necessary for this to occur’sooner or later’.
Professor Hunter said it would not be prudent to immediately drop quarantine because severe illness can still result from the virus.
Ministers already reduced the time for isolation to seven days. Covid patients must test positive twice after each week. Sir John Bell, an immunologist and advisor to the Government regarding Covid said that Britain could even go further by replicating the US through lateral flow tests.
Paul Hunter, an infectious disease specialist from the University of East Anglia (pictured), said that eventually Covid-infected individuals will be allowed to “go about their normal lives” as with a cold.
Sir John stated that lateral flow kit (such as the one pictured), are an effective way to identify who is infected and who isn’t on BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
Professor Hunter indicated that this topic should be brought up as soon as possible because it will be treated like a common cold virus and not be reported daily.
He said that the NHS shortages are due to people being forced to isolate.
“The infection isn’t going away. But, it’s not likely that we will see the severe illness for long.
“Ultimately, people with positive Covid will be allowed to live their lives just like any other person with a cold. This is why we have to let it go at some point.
“If self-isolation rules cause the Covid pain, we should do it sooner than expected. Perhaps not yet.
The US Health Department yesterday reduced the isolation time for coronavirus patients who are symptomatic from 10 to five to one day and similarly decreased the quarantine period for close friends.
Officials at the CDC stated that the guidelines are consistent with increasing evidence that those with the virus can become most infected in the days immediately before symptoms appear and the days following.
A recent increase in Covid infections due to the Omicron variant was also a factor driving this decision.
Initial research indicates that Omicron might cause milder illness than the earlier coronavirus versions.
Experts warn that the number of infected people could make it impossible for hospitals and airlines to remain open due to the high rate of infection.
Rochelle Walensky, director at CDC, warned that the United States is in danger of seeing a large number Omicron cases.
She stated that not all these cases would be serious. Many will actually be asymptomatic.
“We need a way to ensure society can continue functioning and following science.”
The CDC advised that people with isolated symptoms or those who are quarantined for symptoms should remain at home.
The agency relaxed rules last week that required health workers to be off work for a minimum of 10 days after obtaining a positive test.
New recommendations stated that workers may return to work seven days after a negative test and no symptoms.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky (pictured) said the country is about to see a lot of Omicron cases: ‘Not all of those cases are going to be severe. Many of those cases will be mild to moderate. Our goal is to ensure that science can be followed while society continues to function safely.
According to the agency, isolation times could be cut down to five days or even less in severe cases of staff shortages.
Chris Hopson is the chief executive officer of NHS Providers. He today rejected suggestions that Covid-infected healthcare workers should be allowed to continue living their daily lives.
BBC Breakfast, he said: “That doesn’t seem right and shouldn’t be applied to anyone who works in the NHS. It would appear to me that it is very foolish to suggest otherwise.
“What has been helpfully done is that the self-isolation time was reduced from 10 to 7 if there are two lateral flow test results and they come back negative.
“But when it comes to NHS staff, it is vital that we protect our patients in our hospitals and our healthcare facilities from infection. Because we know they could be very, very vulnerable.
“As regards the larger society, obviously that’s something we should be looking at.”
The most up-to-date figures reveal there were 842 Covid patients in intensive care on ventilators – the lowest level in two months
UK’s Covid Staffing Crisis: Omicron Spread has Left Public Services in a “Perilous State” Unions are warning that Omicron spread has forced recycling centers to close, and bin collections in London under threat. As a result of the grounding and suspension of train services indefinitely, flights have been grounded.
Omicron, warned unions today that public services are in an ‘inflictious state’. Bin collections were under threat and recycling centers had to close. Flights were cancelled and trains grounded.
Lewisham council stated that the main reuse and recycling center will remain closed until Wednesday. Black bin collection collections would also be taken into consideration in case there are delays with recycling.
The Rail Delivery Group reported that 6.8% of all trains in the country were cancelled yesterday, which is lower than an average annual rate of 2.9%. Warwickshire trains have been suspended indefinitely, which affected service between Leamington Spa and Nuneaton.
FlightAware track data shows that yesterday saw more than 2,200 flight cancellations worldwide. Heathrow cancelled 60 flights on Sunday. Gatwick reported that it received only three cancellations on Sunday out of 215 flights, while none yesterday.
Lewisham council said that the main reuse and recycling center (pic) would close Wednesday. Black bin collection will take priority in case there are delays with recycling collections.
It added that black bin collections would be prioritised in the event of delays to recycling collections
Chiefs of local governments have stated that nationwide shortages in staff are acute in areas such as waste collection and other services, including child care.
Jon Richard, the assistant general secretary of Unison, the public services union, told the Guardian: ‘Key health, council, care and police services have so many staff off that lots are worried they will not be able to keep going.
“That is why additional measures to stop virus spread will be of paramount importance over the next weeks. Services have had to make do with a small staff over the years. Omicron is now ending this, leaving services at risk.
There have been concerns raised regarding the opening of schools again after Christmas. Paul Whiteman of the National Association of Head Teachers warned that some students could be sent home because there isn’t enough teachers.
Geoff Barton was the General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. He stated to the BBC that the absences at schools had reached an ‘unsustainable’ level, and some schools were reporting up to 25% staff absent in the week prior to Christmas.
We don’t know the future. He said that while we don’t want to be incredibly worried about it, we do believe we need to have some sense of reality.
The other industries are also being affected. West End actors were summoned with only four hours notice after cast members contracted Covid.
Charlotte Kennedy, 27, was given four hours’ notice to play Cosette in a production of Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre.
The Telegraph reported that she said it took a very, very quick turnaround. After I was fitted for my costume, the stylist decided how to style my hair. [there was no time for a wig fitting]”I was then just going through my lyrics hoping that they would stick.”
The NHS could lose up to 40% of its London workforce in the worst-case scenario envisaged by Alison Leary at London Southbank University, who is chair of modelling health and worker care.
The total number of 18829 NHS employees in acute trusts was absent on December 19 due to coronavirus reasons. This is an increase from the 12,240 staff a week prior.
The NHS is already under pressure from this increase in staff who call in sick and are isolated every day.
Barts Health Trust had 338 employees absent on December 19, either due to the virus, or because they were being isolating. This was compared with 91 who went off the job the Sunday before.
The trend of similarity was observed in all parts of Capital, where Covid related absences increased from 1,540 to 3874 during the same time frame.
The virus accounts for approximately 43 percent of NHS London daily absences, up from 18% prior to Omicron’s spiral out of control.
Covid, the worst-hit trust that runs Great Ormond Street Hospital, was responsible for more than 6 percent of all staff being absent.
According to NHS England data on December 19, 351 Great Ormond Street Hospital Trust workers were either ill due to Covid, as compared with 70 weeks prior. According to statistics, this figure represents 6.13 percent or more of the total workforce at the trust. MailOnline’s graph shows 10 London trusts with the largest percentage of staff absent because of Covid, December 19.
According to NHS England data on December 19, 338 Barts Health Trust hospital employees were either ill due to Covid or wasolating as a result of the disease. This compares to 83 just two weeks ago. The highest number of Covid-related absences in London was recorded at Guy’s Trust and St Thomas’ trust, which had 515 employees home as of December 19. This compares to the 179 workers who were there two weeks prior on December 5, an increase by 188%. King’s College Hospital trust had 505 Covid related absences on December 19. It was followed closely by Imperial College Healthcare Trust (365), Great Ormond Street Hospital Trust (351), and St George’s University Hospital (206).
NHS England data shows that staff absenteeisms due to Covid in London have increased by 1,100 to 3,874 in the past two weeks, to December 19. The virus accounts for 43 percent of NHS London’s daily absences. This is a significant increase from the 18% that Omicron had before Omicron became out of control.
This comes just as Prime Minister sets to hold crucial talks today about whether England should be following the lead of other UK countries and introducing extra Covid curbs before the new year.
Discussions around additional measures center on whether the health system can handle an anticipated spike in patients infected like those seen in London and rising staff absenteeism.
Retail, which was already afflicted by the pandemic in the past, faced staff shortages on Boxing Day.
They are worried about being further affected by Christmas when they return to their homes having spread Omicron among friends, family and loved ones.
Gatwick (the UK’s 2nd busiest airport) said it only experienced three cancellations from the total of 215 flights Sunday. Coronavirus was blamed for most of the cancellations around the world, however severe weather in the US also played a role.
Christmas holiday-makers were delayed for 12 hours by Manchester Airport’s chaotic day.
Although passengers had to be leaving Manchester at 8:10am for Turin, the flight didn’t take place until approximately 12 hours later.
The Italian authorities expect them to arrive there at 10.30pm. This means they’ll have missed a day of their holiday break.
People have spent many hours waiting on airplanes while they wait to depart.
Michael Ackroyd from Saddleworth in Oldham was among those who were affected by the delays.
His family was looking forward to their ski holiday, but were interrupted by the chaos.
Tui, the flight operator has apologized to passengers and has confirmed that the plane is now headed for Italy.
According to the firm, disruptions were caused by a technical issue. Ackroyd stated that the airplane passengers had to travel to Turin was having problems with its toilet.
The passengers waited for three hours on the plane before they were taken off.
After several hours, all passengers were finally transferred onto another plane around 3.45pm.
Ackroyd continued to wait for an hour before he was told that there weren’t enough ground personnel available to transport baggage on the new aircraft.
At 7.30pm, the flight was over.
The vouchers were to be spent on meals during the day. One person claimed they were only told that there weren’t any food on board for the evening flight.
A passenger explained that there were children aboard, so no food was available and there is a higher risk of COVID. However, everyone should have a PCR done within 48 hours and a lateral flow test performed with 24 hours. Tensions are increasing, people are stressed, patience is running thin’.
“To describe the current state of affairs as a disgraceful is an understatement.
“To the credit of the crew onboard, they are maintaining calm and answering all questions. They also work hard to make phone calls in order to resolve the many issues that have arisen.”
Travellers who were due to fly from Turin back to Manchester have been affected by the delays.
TUI spokesperson said, “We apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers by flight TOM2726 Manchester-Turin. This was delayed because of a technical problem.
“We have confirmed that an alternative aircraft is now departing from Manchester. Customers are currently on their way to Turin.
“The safety and well-being of passengers and crew are always our top priority. We would like to express our gratitude for the patience and understanding shown by passengers.
People took to social media in protest of long waiting times at airports.
According to the Rail Delivery Group, yesterday’s cancellations were 6.8% nationwide, which is a decrease from 2.9% an year. File photo
FlightAware track data shows that over 2,200 international flights were cancelled yesterday. Heathrow cancelled 60 flights on Sunday. File pic
Jamie Gloyne stated: “Hey @united, what’s going on at Heathrow?” These people won’t be able to fly if they don’t get in sooner.
Twitter user He also added, “Never seen such a lack of organization.” This is chaos.
Amira Rasool stated that London’s airport was trying to be the top-flight security in the world.
“Like to leave my Korean makeup products and travel-sized mascara alone sis.
“Never do another London Heathrow transfer again. What happens when you remove people’s luggage that is too large to fit into the small bag you give them? Do you make us pay for it or recommend we purchase new bags at your airport.
I asked her why there were only two plastic bags and she answered that it was for security. Then they allowed us to pick what we wanted.
‘Girl. Just say that you are aware it’s about them wanting us to either buy their products or pay for shipping.
Robyn posted that she is still waiting on her mom’s bag. JNB 19/12 was the date she arrived at Heathrow.
“We’ve followed all procedures, and were informed it would arrive 21/12. Then it was shipped to Edinburgh.
Elle added, “Then it promised it would here 23/12. Is the case now closed? We need your help.
Heathrow witnessed chaotic scenes over the weekend when Covid staff shortages hit.
Maz asks: Are any Heathrow leaders parents? Try going through Heathrow border control with your kids, the queues are always long esp for UK nationals, it sucks…
“Oh, and social distancing is non-existent Heathrow. “Oh and Heathrow has no social ditancing.”
Yesterday’s cancellation of many flights resulted in domestic flight delays. Staff illness also affected services.
Planning for Christmas is being severely affected by the triple threat of planned closures, strikes and shortages caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
Yesterday morning, West Midlands Railways declared that all services between Leamington Spa and Nuneaton have been suspended indefinitely.
The spokesperson said that the Coronavirus Pandemic, and later Omicron Variant, had an important impact on the workforce. As a result, more of our colleagues will have to take their lives.
‘Whilst we make every effort to run the planned train service, we need to let you know that in December, we will be making changes to services between Leamington Spa – Nuneaton via Coventry. This will be covered by the rail replacement bus until further notice.
Travellers and commuters in the capital should expect similar problems due to Tube closures.
The Piccadilly railway was shut down between Heathrow Airport, Acton Town and December 30.
Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said that train companies prioritize running as many trains during Christmas because we understand how important it is for people. Our mission is to transport everyone from one place to the next.
“To make this happen, we are asking everyone to check their passports before traveling.