Senior doctor Thomas Marx places on his private protecting gear earlier than coming into the room of a affected person with Covid-19 in an intensive care unit of a hospital in Freising, southern Germany.
LENNART PRICE | AFP | Getty Photographs
Plan B measures, carried out in December because the Omicron Covid variant surged within the UK, imply that face masks can be obligatory in most indoor public areas comparable to public transport, outlets, theaters and cinemas and that folks can be suggested to to do business from home if attainable.
Highschool college students can be required to put on masks as a part of the technique to stem the unfold of the extremely infectious variant in school rooms, and bigger venues would require Covid passports exhibiting whether or not an individual is absolutely vaccinated or has just lately examined adverse.
Because the measures have been launched, the UK has launched an enormous booster marketing campaign and lowered the variety of Omicron instances. Booster pictures restore a lot of the Covid vaccine safety that has been misplaced on account of declining immunity and in opposition to the extra simply transmissible variant that has undermined Covid vaccines greater than its predecessor, the Delta pressure.
On the peak of the Omicron wave in early 2022, the UK was recording over 200,000 new Covid infections day by day. 94,432 new instances have been reported on Tuesday.
“Selections on subsequent steps stay balanced,” mentioned a UK authorities spokesman on Tuesday.
“Plan B was carried out in December to sluggish the speedy unfold of the extraordinarily transmissible Omicron variant and obtain extra weapon bursts,” the spokesman mentioned, noting that 36 million booster pictures have been given throughout the UK
Nevertheless, the spokesperson added that the Omicron variant “stays a big menace and the pandemic is just not over but. Infections stay excessive however the newest knowledge are encouraging with instances progressively declining.”
Virologists have extensively predicted that the rise and fall in omicron instances needs to be shorter and extra extreme than earlier variants on account of its elevated transmissibility. Though the variant is spreading extra simply, to date it appears to trigger much less severe sickness, so the rise in instances has not been adopted by an increase in hospitalizations and deaths.
On Tuesday, the Guardian newspaper reported that the UK authorities is predicted to announce all Covid restrictions might finish in March, two years after Britain went into lockdown for the primary time in 2020, as the federal government pursues its plan for folks to “study”. reside with the virus.”
There are early indicators and hopes that the omicron wave has additionally peaked in some US states, though the World Well being Group warned on Wednesday that the pandemic won’t finish if the omicron variant dies down in some nations, and warned that the excessive an infection charges world wide will doubtless result in new variants because the virus mutates.
Europe’s omicron meltdown
Whereas England is making an attempt to ease lockdown, such a method is unlikely to be carried out anytime quickly in mainland Europe, the place omicron instances are rising dramatically.
France on Tuesday reported 464,769 new Covid infections, the best quantity throughout the pandemic, whereas Germany reported greater than 100,000 instances on Wednesday, additionally a file for the nation.
Frustration at a protracted partial shutdown has grown within the Netherlands as Covid infections have risen regardless of restrictions. 31,426 confirmed instances have been reported on Tuesday, simply down from a file variety of round 42,000 instances earlier within the week.
Final Friday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte introduced the reopening of non-essential outlets, hairdressers, magnificence salons and gymnasiums, noting that “we’re taking an enormous step and that additionally means we’re taking an enormous threat”.
However Rutte warned that uncertainties surrounding the Omicron variant meant bars, eating places and cultural venues must stay closed till at the least January 25.