To curb the rapid spread of the omicron variant, the British will return to remote work starting this Monday (13), while the government starts a fight against time to apply as many booster vaccines as possible by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has set itself the complex mission of providing the third dose of Covid-19 vaccine to all adults across the country by December 31.
The country tries to apply nearly a million doses a day. For this, it opened more vaccination centers, which will work for more hours a day and will receive the support of the army.
The government website that allows scheduling the vaccinations went down last Sunday (12), after a speech by Johnson to the nation. The problems persist this Monday.
The portal also informs that the tests of antigens that the English public health service distributes for free are finished. Tests must now be performed daily by anyone who has close contact with someone infected with the omicron variant.
With 66 million inhabitants, the United Kingdom is one of the countries in Europe most affected by the pandemic, with 146,000 deaths due to the disease. The country had already enacted precautionary measures last week, such as the use of masks in almost all closed spaces and teleworking, which took effect this Monday.
But in the early morning traffic was heavy in areas like the City of London and many buses were packed. Starting this week, health passports will also be required in places such as nightclubs and football stadiums.
The decisions have angered some members of Johnson’s Conservative Party, who threaten a rebellion next Tuesday (14), when Parliament will vote on the new measures. However, the new rules are guaranteed approval thanks to the support of the opposition Labor Party.
This would be a new setback for the prime minister, weakened after a series of scandals related to alleged parties held in Downing Street last year , when celebrations were banned by the pandemic and Britons were deprived of family Christmas gatherings.
In Sunday’s speech, Johnson highlighted the “strong wave” of the new variant of the coronavirus, which spreads like gunpowder across the UK, and anticipated by a month the goal of offering the third dose to everyone over 18 years old.
Ômicron is “propagating at an extraordinary rate, which we have not seen before,” Health Minister Sajid Javid told Sky News on Monday. He said the number of cases doubles every two to three days.
“Our strategy has been to buy time to assess and build our defenses, to prevent hospitals from becoming overcrowded,” he explained.
With the rapid increase in contagion, the alert level by Covid-19 was raised on Sunday from three to four (the scale goes up to five), indicating that “transmission is high”.
Fifteen days after detection in the country, the UK registers 3,137 cases of the omicron variant, but experts believe the number is much higher and the government predicts it will be the dominant variant in a few days. According to Javid, the variant already represents 40% of infections in London.