Covid rules in England are reportedly changing starting today, Wednesday, with a government minister to make a new announcement later in the House of Commons.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will argue in front of his cabinet on Wednesday that they should stick to Plan B measures in England as he accepted that parts of the healthcare system would feel “temporarily overwhelmed”.
He will then also be critical of Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer on the Prime Minister’s questions and possible challenges for Tory MPs who are critical of the restrictions in the face of staff shortages.
Government sources have not rejected reports suggesting that testing rules for Covid-19 will be relaxed to reduce absenteeism, although the timing of the announcement was unclear.
The Telegraph said a change to prevent millions who test positive in lateral flow tests from needing confirmatory PCR could come today, Wednesday.
A ministerial statement is expected in the House of Commons on Wednesday, although it is unclear whether Mr Johnson will make it himself or from another minister.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will brief the Scottish Parliament on the pandemic in the afternoon.
NHS trusts reported critical incidents and hospitals in Greater Manchester said they would suspend some “non-urgent” operations because of the “increasing impact” of Covid-19 and staff shortages.
The NHS North West Regional Medical Director, Dr. David Levy said the BBC hospitals across the region are under pressure due to the amount of Covid patients and isolation staff, adding that frontline staff are currently under “quite a bit of pressure”.
A record 218,724 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases were reported in England and Scotland on Tuesday, although the number will have been inflated by delayed reporting on the holiday season.
Mr Johnson confirmed that prior to today’s review of Jan.
At a press conference on Downing Street, he argued that the booster introduction provided significant protection, adding, “So, along with the Plan B measures we put in place before Christmas, we have the chance to use these Omicron- To survive the wave without closing our country once. “Again.”
Accepting that the coming weeks will be “challenging”, Mr Johnson said “some services are disrupted by staff absenteeism” as he pledged to “strengthen” the NHS to withstand the pressure and protect supply chains.
As part of the measures, he said 100,000 “critical workers”, including those in transportation, police and food distribution, would receive lateral flow tests every weekday starting Monday.
The Prime Minister added: “I would say that we have a good chance of surviving the Omicron wave without further restrictions and certainly without the need for a lockdown.”
He accepted, however, that the NHS was moving to a “war base” as it admitted that the health service is under “tremendous pressure” while hospital admissions are “high”.
Mr Johnson’s administration at Westminster has adhered to the Plan B restrictions announced four weeks ago, despite stricter restrictions in place in other British nations.