Omicron variant raises alarm in England. As British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces the variant’s first victim – as well as dozens of hospitalizations – and urges not to underestimate symptoms, British hospitals are preparing for a “tidal wave” – to use the Prime Minister’s words – and are preparing to provide beds for Covid patients, in a scenario that could Omicron can cause up to 200,000 cases per day.
Doctors are calling for more restrictive measures – with more comprehensive mask requirements – and the English Health Service is sending a message to hospitals: All patients must be discharged before Christmas who can find housing in nursing homes, in their homes or in hotels. The beds must be cleaned up, as the country faces a level 4 emergency.
The construction of the auxiliary structures in the converted hotels has already begun. The Guardian wrote that the service is workers from Spain and Greece. In hospitals, routine benefits are reduced and limited to emergency management. Additional priority will be reserved for cancer patients and patients who have been waiting for surgery for some time.
The plan is surrounded by a vaccination campaign that aims to give one million doses a day. Indeed, according to the British Medical Association, this effort will not be enough to stop the spread of the Omicron variant: the booster dose of the vaccine, needed to raise the level of protection, cannot currently be given to 1 in 4 people.
Thus, the group of people susceptible to infection is very rich. Doctors are therefore calling for the return of masks in bars and restaurants, the restoration of social distancing rules (2 meters) indoors, the limitation of participation in events, ventilation systems in schools, increased rapid testing and a temptation to use Ffp2 masks on a large scale instead of surgical masks.
Johnson, who is focused heavily on accelerated vaccinations, cannot rule out toughening measures: An assessment should arrive on Dec. 18. All options are on the table, including the early closing of schools before Christmas: this would be a “last resort”. Teachers deplore the “chaos” in the classroom, with so many students forced to stay home between positivity and solitude.
Health Minister Sajid Javid said the picture is conditional on the potential risk of 200,000 omicron cases per day. Currently, 20% of virus cases in England are already dependent on the variant. In London, the share rose to 44%: Omicron is expected to become dominant in the capital within a couple of days.