Johnson Confident UK Can 'Ride Out' Omicron Wave Without Another COVID-19 Lockdown
18:26 GMT 04.01.2022 (Updated: 18:27 GMT 04.01.2022)
© JACK HILLBritain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual press conference to update the nation on the status of the Covid-19 pandemic, in the Downing Street briefing room in central London on January 4, 2022.
© JACK HILL
LONDON (Sputnik) – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday said that the UK has a chance to “ride out” the Omicron wave without another lockdown, so he stressed there is no need for further COVID-19 restrictions apart from the ones already implemented.
“We have a chance to ride out this Omicron wave without shutting down our country once again,” Johnson told a press conference, as UK health authorities reported that 218,724 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed over the last 24 hours.
The prime minister, who has resisted calls to increase social distancing measures in view of the surge in infections caused by the Omicron variant, said the Plan B, which includes mandatory mask-wearing in certain places, working from home where possible and the use of vaccine passports to enter some venues, is offering a good chance of overcoming the new wave without tighter restrictions.
Johnson admitted, however, that the upcoming weeks will be “challenging,” so he announced that 100,000 critical workers from the food sector to transport and border force will be asked to take a lateral flow test every day from January 10 to minimize service disruptions.
He also encouraged people to take the COVID-19 vaccine, pointing out that up to 90% of the COVID-19 patients currently in intensive care units have not had their booster and up to 60% are unvaccinated.