Covid: Harlow braces for Plan B rule changes amid Omicron fears

Health / Thu 9th Dec 2021 at 07:47am

PEOPLE in England are preparing for more restrictions on daily life after the PM approved his Covid Plan B to limit the spread of Omicron.

The new rules, some of which start on Friday, include masks in most public places, Covid passes for some venues and work from home guidance.

But Boris Johnson faces a mounting backlash to the plans from his own MPs.

One senior Conservative MP heckled Health Secretary Sajid Javid in the Commons, shouting for him to “resign”.

That MP, William Wragg, had earlier questioned Mr Johnson over the timing of the Plan B announcement, suggesting it was a diversion from allegations over Downing Street parties during restrictions last year.

Former Tory chief whip Mark Harper added: “Why should people at home listening to the prime minster and the secretary of state do things that people working in No 10 Downing Street are not prepared to do?”

And Conservative backbencher John Redwood said many Tory MPs “do not think a good case has been made” for the new measures.

While a substantial rebellion is expected when the plans come to a vote in the Commons next week, they are likely to pass with support from Labour.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner told BBC Breakfast she welcomed the measures so “people can have a safer Christmas”, but said the government should have acted sooner and had still not addressed a lack of ventilation in schools and inadequate sick pay for millions.

At a Downing Street briefing on Wednesday, the prime minister described the new rules as “proportionate and responsible” after the emergence of the Omicron virus variant.

He said early indications suggested the new variant “could lead to a big rise in hospitalisations and therefore sadly in deaths” – though a lot is still unknown.

Initial analysis suggested cases could be doubling every 2.5 to three days, he said. Some 568 confirmed Omicron cases have so far been identified in the UK.

Under the new rules:

  • From Friday, face masks will be required in more public settings – including theatres and cinemas
  • From Monday, people will be asked to work from home where possible
  • From Wednesday, the NHS Covid Pass will also be required for visitors to nightclubs, indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any event with more than 10,000 people

Mr Johnson said Christmas parties and nativity plays should still go ahead – as long as the guidance is followed.

Ministers have repeatedly said there are no plans for another lockdown in England. “It’s not a lockdown, it’s Plan B,” Mr Johnson told a Downing Street news conference.

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1 Comment for Covid: Harlow braces for Plan B rule changes amid Omicron fears:

2021-12-09 08:15:09

This is the point where I am totally out of my depth, with the rules and the technology. I want to obey the rules/law and I don't look to our leaders to set an example, so it is not difficult for me. Thing is, don't laugh, what is a "covid passport"? I have a letter saying I have had both jabs and suppose this needs updating to include the booster. I don't have a mobile capable of downloading apps. Whats to stop people borrowing mobiles from friends? A passport has a photo etc... I am missing something I know, it cannot be this easy to cheat.

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