Home News Opinion: It’s time for Covid plan B to save Christmas – regardless...

Opinion: It’s time for Covid plan B to save Christmas – regardless of omicron


It all feels a bit deja vu, doesn’t it?

Government ministers are filling the airwaves with assurances that, yes, Christmas is definitely going ahead and no, you shouldn’t cancel your Christmas party. Except maybe don’t invite too many people. Or kiss anyone under the mistletoe. Or do any unnecessary socialising, whatever that means. All very 2020, either way.

The government and its scientific advisers have, of course, been spooked by the emergence of a new variant of Covid-19, omicron. Designated a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation, omicron is the strain identified recently in South Africa, and it’s now been found in the UK and across the world.

READ MORE – Face masks: your itchy nose or steamed up glasses could save a life

There is a possibility it could be somewhat resistant to our existing vaccines, though it is too early to be sure and it’s likely the vaccines will still offer a large degree of protection against serious illness. Nevertheless, the uncertainty and potential for it to undo the vaccine rollout has the country worried, triggering the government’s reintroduction of mask mandates on public transport and in shops.

Aside from some noisy Conservative backbenchers and other usual suspects who moan about their freedoms being taken away (strangely they’re always silent about my freedom to not get infected with a deadly disease), the public are broadly in favour of more restrictions, as they have been the whole way through the pandemic. A large YouGov survey found only 13 per cent of British residents oppose the move to reintroduce face masks in shops and on public transport. Conversely, 83 per cent are in favour.

The government, on the other hand, is doing its best impression of itself from a year ago, insisting that Christmas will go ahead as planned and that, no, further restrictions in the form of plan B will not be necessary. If you’ve forgotten, this would involve introducing Covid passports at mass events, such as football matches and gigs, and advising everyone who can work from home to do so.

Want to have your say? Let us know what you think in the comments below

No lockdown, no shutting of businesses, no restrictions on socialising, and no forced scotch eggs with your pint. Just the knowledge that your fellow football fans don’t have Covid, and a few more weeks working from home.

While scientists beaver away in the lab, examining and analysing omicron and developing new vaccines against it, these measures seem eminently sensible. The reintroduction of the mandate to wear masks in public settings is a smart move: face coverings have been proven to help stem the spread of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, by between 62 per cent and 99 per cent, and there is little negative economic impact to speak of. Indeed, with the virus still raging even in the summer, the mask mandate should never have been lifted; how many people caught Covid as a result of that removal and later died?

Without plan B now, we could see cases of Covid-19 shoot up from their already high level – the most recent seven-day average in the UK is 42,057 – and, if omicron really is resistant to the vaccines, we could see hospitalisations rise too. As we know, that then leads to cancelled scans and surgeries, and staff becoming even more exhausted, all while having to deal with regular winter pressures on the NHS.

This is the eventuality the government has been trying to avoid since the beginning of the pandemic – and it’s the one thing that could lead them to cancelling Christmas: if NHS services become overwhelmed, only then will the government act.

So how do we help stop the health service from becoming overwhelmed? We cut down our Covid transmission well in advance of Christmas, by bringing in plan B. That will keep cases, hospitalisations, and deaths low, without much economic impact – all while ensuring Father Christmas can still come down the chimney on Christmas Eve.

Get the best stories about the things you love most curated by us and delivered to your inbox every day. Choose what you love here

Previous articleOmicron variant: Doctor’s three Omicron symptoms despite having three doses of Pfizer
Next articleMum felt ‘sick to her stomach’ after baby daughter’s memorial garden was trashed by vandal


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here