Will we go back into lockdown again this year? It may be a new year but concern around the new Omicron variant and its high transmissibility has many people wondering about further measures in 2022.
Despite emerging symptoms of Omicron barely before the gay period, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that there wouldn ’ metric ton be any restrictions over Christmas – even going so far as to say that Christmas parties weren ’ triiodothyronine cancelled. It was a decision that meant a recur of 2020 ’ second last-minute celebration cancellation, when the PM introduced new measures on December 19, could be avoided .
Following this, the pandemic reached raw heights in the UK as about 219,000 people tested positivist on January 4, according to the UK Health Security Agency. But with cases now appearing to be levelling off, will the prime minister be putting the country back into lockdown ?
Will we go back into lockdown this year?
While we ’ re still in the early days of 2022, the prime minister has confirmed that England won’t go back into lockdown for the prison term being .
Speaking during a late visit to a vaccination centre, Boris Johnson said that the nation was in a “ much better position ” than last year thanks to the vaccines .
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however, following the spike in Omicron cases over Christmas and New Year, he besides warned it would be “ folly ” to think the pandemic was over and said that pressure on hospitals would be “ considerable ” in the approaching weeks. For this reason, he kept Plan B restrictions in topographic point following a review on January 5 .
now at the end of January, the design B restrictions are reaching their death date. If the PM wanted to continue with the measures, which include face masks in all public spaces and working from home guidance, he would have to pass them through Parliament again .
Boris Johnson has announced that he will not be continuing the restrictions and will commence with Plan A from January 20. This suggests above all that there is no plan to put England back into lockdown at the here and now .
Moving from Plan B to Plan A measures includes:
- An end to the work from home rule in the UK – with advice that people speak to their employer about returning to the office.
- Pupils don’t have to wear face masks in the classroom
- People can stop wearing face masks in indoor public spaces
- An end to mandatory Covid passes for some venues in England
- Easing of care home restrictions
It comes as the most holocene datum shows the number of people with Covid-19 has fallen in England significantly since the begin of the Omicron wave. According to the Office for National Statistics ( ONS ), around 3.5 million people in the UK tested positive for coronavirus in the week ending January 15. While distillery significant, this is much less than the 4.3 million who tested positive the week before .
This immediately works out to be roughly one in 20 people infected with the virus or an estimated 5.3 % of the population .
Boris Johnson has previously warned, however, that people should be “ sensible ” about their social interactions and take a lateral pass stream test before meeting people they don ’ triiodothyronine normally see. This is particularly significant, health experts suggest, as the symptoms of Omicron resemble more of a common cold than former strains. He besides added that getting a first base, second base or a promoter jab was imperative to stay safe .
“ We ’ ve got to remain cautious, we ’ ve got to stick with design B, we ’ ve got to get boosted, ” the prime minister said .
While many believed we were set for another Covid-themed Christmas, with restrictions limiting gatherings of syndicate and friends, the flower minister opted for a “ normality ” of sorts with Plan B .
“ The situation remains extremely unmanageable, but I besides recognise that people have been waiting to hear about whether their Christmas plans, your Christmas plans, are going to be affected, ” he said at the time .
“ What I can say tonight is that naturally we can ’ t rule out any far measures after Christmas, and we ’ re going to keep a ceaseless eye on the date – we will do whatever it takes to protect public health .
“ But, in the see of the continuing uncertainty about respective things – the badness of Omicron, the doubt about the hospitalization rates or the impact of the vaccine rollout and the boosters – we don ’ thymine think today that there is adequate tell to justify any tougher measures before Christmas. ”
This announcement came just days before the Health Security Agency ( UKHSA ) announced that the rules on when you can come out of Covid isolation have changed in England. Those who tested negative on sidereal day six and seven of their quarantine didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate have to isolate for the broad 10 days. This has now, at the prison term of spell, been reduced to five days in isolation following a negative test on day five and six .
Both the health secretary and the prime minister have encouraged people to take up their promoter jab when it is available to them, saying it was “ more vital than ever ”. The jab is now available to anyone over 16 years honest-to-god, following update guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations ( JCVI ) .
Health officials have besides urged people to continue taking tests for the virus, which are now available again after a impermanent dearth in December. Lateral flow tests can be delusive positive, however, this is highly improbable to be the case according to new inquiry. so, anyone without symptoms should besides use these to test where possible .
The change in the rules came around the same time that reports emerged of gatherings taking place at 10 Downing Street over lockdown. now being investigated by Sue Gray, who is a senior civil servant, the inquiry is expected to conclude in the approach weeks .
But while it looks like England won ’ triiodothyronine be going spinal column into lockdown at the moment, experts have wanted that a tighter clampdown could be on the way if people don ’ t take to the measures .
Professor Greg Towers, Division of Infection and Immunity at University College London, said that if people treat the pandemic like “ it ’ sulfur all over ” then there will be higher infection rates – and more prospect of a lockdown .
He told Times Radio, “ If we don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate wear masks and if we ignore social outdistance rules, and if we pretend it ’ south all over, then what ’ s going to happen is we ’ ll get another big roll of infection and we ’ ll get put into lockdown again. so, if we don ’ thyroxine want lockdown, we ’ ve got to try and stop the go around by easier means like mask-wearing and sociable outdistance. ”
plan A and B were announced earlier in the summer by the government as the way the state would handle Covid-19 in the winter .
plan A prevented the NHS from experiencing unplayful pressure through vaccines for more age groups and more quiz. As contribution of the plan, Track and Trace continued and the politics encouraged businesses to consider using the NHS Covid Pass to check whether customers had a double vaccination .
plan B was put into place by officials as they believed the NHS was coming under “ unsustainable pressure ” due to the Omicron discrepancy over winter final year .
Earlier in October, following a rise to up to 40,000 cases for eight days in a course, doctors from The British Medical Association said ministers should begin their plan B. They besides accused the government of being “ willfully negligent ” for refusing to reimpose Covid rules, such as compulsory face masks, before this date .
however, Health Minister Edward Argar said at the time that the NHS was not under the “ unsustainable coerce ” required to justify new restrictions. “ We know how those numbers can rise swiftly, which is why we ’ ra looking at that day by day, hour by hour, ” he said. “ But at the consequence we do have the ability to manage. ”
On announcing the end of lockdown earlier this year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that when the measures did rise, it would be “ irreversible ”. But there would besides be “ trade wind offs ” involved .
He said, “ We can begin safely to restart our lives and do it with confidence. But I want to be frank about precisely what that means and the trade-offs involved. The vaccines reduce the risk of Covid : they save lives and they keep people out of hospital .
“ But no vaccine against any disease has always been 100 per penny effective, ” he continued. “ therefore whenever we ease the lockdown, whether it is today or in six or nine months, we ’ ve got to be realistic and accept that there will be more infections, more hospitalisations and therefore – sadly – more deaths, good as there are every year with influenza. even if we sustained the lockdown indefinitely, which would itself cost lives and do immeasurable harm to our children, we would not be able to eradicate this disease. ”
“ And that is why it is sol crucial that this roadmap should be cautious but besides irreversible. We are setting out on what I hope and believe is a one way road to freedom. ”
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even when the government delayed the goal of lockdown on June 21 2021 by four weeks, the message stayed the same. The premier minister continued to stress that England ’ s set about was “ timid but irreversible ”. He besides repeatedly referred to July 19 as the “ terminal date ” for restrictions. Following this, the populace dubbed July 19 as “ Freedom Day ” .
Health Secretary Sajid Javid besides said earlier in the summer that there would be no far lockdowns after July 19. He told news outlets that he wanted the restrictions to lift “ a promptly as possible ”. He added it was “ going to be irreversible, there ’ s no going bet on. That ’ south why we want to be careful during that action. ”
On July 5, however, the PM did reveal that the government would keep some “ contingency measures ” in station. These would be “ to help manage the virus during higher risk periods, such as the winter ” .
He said, “ We will place emphasis on strengthen guidance and do everything potential to avoid reimposing restrictions with all the costs that they bring. ”
Announcing plans for how the nation would “ live with Covid ”, the government said that they intended to :
- Reduce the vaccine dose interval for under 40s from 12 weeks to 8
- Move away from legal restrictions to allow people to make their own decisions about managing the virus
- Continue with a “proportionate” test, trace and isolate system
- Maintain tough border controls (with the requirement to prove a double vaccination before travel)
In late July, experts were still cautioning the populace that the situation could worsen in the winter. They didn ’ thyroxine confirm whether we will go back into lockdown this class but said that if cases do rise substantially, the government may have no choice but to enforce restrictions .
Is Scotland going back into lockdown?
No, the most recent restrictions in Scotland came to an end on January 17 2022 .
previously, only 100 people could attend indoor standing events, with up to 200 people at indoor seat events and up to 500 people – either seated or standing – at outdoor events. This limitation is no longer in place in Scotland as of January 17 .
then from January 24, all rules on indoor events and venues will be lifted – including the want for mesa service in cordial reception locations. Nightclubs will besides be able to open from this date .
The change to the rules before the raw year meant that respective larger scale Hogmanay events were cancelled .
first Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that over the first workweek of January, everyone should “ stay at home right now more than normal ” and reduce social liaison with people from outside of their family .
“ The newfangled protective measures relating to cordial reception, public indoor places and live events that I set out death workweek are now in coerce, ” she said .
“ We will review these on an ongoing basis – however, at this stage, our arithmetic mean is that they will be in force until 17 January .
Some social distance measures were besides reintroduce before Christmas, with Deputy First Minister John Swinney urging people to take “ the greatest of care ” when mixing households .
This included the guidance to only mix in groups of up to three households at a meter and social outdistance measures for shops and cordial reception venues .
“ We hope that we have done enough in the announcements that were made yesterday and we hope that members of the public and businesses will work with us in a concerted spirit to make sure that we can take these provisions fore, ” Mr Swinney told Good Morning Scotland at the prison term .
Nicola Sturgeon had previously warned that she was prepared to enforce Covid restrictions in Scotland where necessary .
Speaking about the new restrictions, she said, “ even if you feel angry with a politician precisely now, please remember just how important submission is for the health and safety of you, your loved ones and the nation. ”
Scotland was besides the first to float the idea of a circumference circuit breaker lockdown over the end of the summer. It was a electric potential choice to stem the ascent in cases before kids went back to school for the new year. however, it didn ’ t happen and Scotland have retained their degree Zero Covid condition since restrictions were lifted in August .
however, the FM used the SNP Conference in November – which occurred precisely hours after the diagnosis of the Omicron variant in Scotland – to double down on the battle against the virus .
“ In late weeks, we have had much in Scotland to feel grateful for. Compared to many countries across Europe, Covid cases here have been stable – indeed they have been declining slightly. To be frank, that ’ s a much better military position that I had dared hope for a couple of months ago. ”
But she said, “ There are large and very real challenges ahead over the winter months. Cases are rising in countries all around us. We know that cold weather, forcing us indoors, coupled with gay socialize will create increase opportunities for the virus to spread. And, most badly of all, the Omicron variant is causing profound concern here and across the global .
“ So we must not drop our guard. This is a time to be more argus-eyed, not less. ”
Ms Sturgeon said that a act of countries had been added to Scotland ’ s locomotion red list and anyone arriving from these places must now go into a managed quarantine facility. Travellers besides have to isolate until they get a negative result from the PCR trial that they do on day 2 of their arrival, careless of where they ’ ve come from .
“ We are besides asking close contact of any confirmed cases of Omicron to isolate, ” she said, ” That none of this was even contemplated just a few days ago, is a reminder of how fast this virus can move and change. We must, all of us, consequently redouble our efforts to stop it in its tracks. ”
however, other ministers have previously noted that there would be issues with financially supporting another lockdown in Scotland. Finance Secretary Kate Forbes claimed earlier this year that the area doesn ’ t have the money for far intense restrictions and would only be able to enforce them if the UK government was willing to fund a complete closure .
Ms Forbes said that there wouldn ’ t be any money available for furlough if Scotland was forced to go into lockdown again, leaving people unable to work without fiscal aid .
Speaking a Holyrood ’ s Finance Committee, she said, “ One of the biggest challenges right now from a fiscal position is the fact that there hasn ’ t been that much extra consequential fund from the united kingdom Government in the end few months .
“ right nowadays we are trying to remobilise the health service, remobilise the department of justice system, remobilise a whole host of different public services, a well as batch with the ongoing covid impact from a budget that has not been supplemented by extra consequentials coming from the united kingdom Government in the way that it was last year .
“ That ’ s not what we ’ re hash out at the moment. We ’ ra talking about trying to maximise the impact of the baseline measures. But if we were to, then we have no certainty that furlough will be in seat. We have no certainty that self employed income subscribe will be in place. And I have no certainty that there will be any extra fund in position .
She added, “ I am not sitting on funds right now that I could deploy to support businesses. We would need extra aid from the united kingdom Government. ”
Is Wales going back into lockdown?
inaugural Minister Mark Drakeford warned that some of the scrapped Covid-19 restrictions could come back and similarly to Scotland, enforced new measures before Christmas .
however, Mr Drakeford has now set out a design for Wales to return to alert degree zero on January 28 if cases continue to fall as they are .
The measures, put into home on Boxing Day 2021, included advice to limit social contact with others outside of the family – particularly if seeing older or more vulnerable people. There were besides changes so it is an umbrage to not work from home if you ’ re able to. alone groups of up to 6 people are allowed to gather in cordial reception venues with the prerequisite for board military service, compulsory confront masks and contact trace in target .
Nightclubs besides closed from December 27 .
Anyone going to the cinema, dramaturgy, or a concert in Wales from November 15 has to prove a duplicate inoculation with a Covid passing. Pubs, cafe and restaurants besides may require the passes equally well .
Will Northern Ireland have another lockdown?
Northern Ireland has had one of the slower journeys out of lockdown in the UK. After lone reopening nightclubs on October 31, executive ministers have reinforced some restrictions .
These included close up cabaret again on December 26 and banning all indoor standing events. There besides besides now restrictions on cordial reception venues and pubs, cafe and restaurants must provide table service only. similar to Wales, merely six people are allowed to sit together at a board – but this rule does not allow to wedding celebrations .
proof of a bivalent Covid vaccine is besides required to gain access to some cordial reception premises and indoor settings. But this rule has been in place in Northern Ireland since December 13.
In mid-november 2021, contagion rates in Northern Ireland were the highest in the UK – above Wales .
While working from home is not compulsory in England, Health Minister Robin Swann said he believes anyone in Northern Ireland who was working from base during the stature of the pandemic last class should do so again .
The rules on face masks were never dropped in Northern Ireland either. They remain mandate on populace transmit, in shops and in all indoor attractions unless you are nontaxable .