Boris Johnson has pushed ahead Covid’s new frontiers amid fears of a dramatic increase in Omicron differences, as his government is embroiled in a crisis of loyalty caused by the Christmas party scandal.
With government experts warning of 10 UK Omicron diseases currently rising to 1m by the end of the month and reaching 2,000 XNUMX in hospitals a day, Johnson stressed that now is the time to take action.
But Wednesday night’s announcement about the launch of program B comes amid allegations that Johnson’s staff violated the door-closing rules last year. Workers say he has lost his “moral authority” and some of his members of Parliament are questioning why the public should follow legal advice.
At a press conference on Downing Street, Johnson said people should work from home where possible from Monday and that a face mask would be a legal requirement in many indoor public areas such as theaters and cinemas from Friday, without having to worry about eating and drinking in hostels.
Vaccination passports available to double-vaccinated workers in the NHS program will be required for those who want to go to large venues, which may be full of people as nightclubs from next week. But Johnson stressed that there is no need to cancel Christmas parties or birthday parties, and nightclubs will remain open.
There will be a parliamentary vote on the limits next week, and the government is expected to deal with the uprising. The health secretary, Sajid Javid, is puzzled by Commons as he announces program B.
Johnson was quickly under pressure for the decision to bring new boundaries at a time when No. 10 was on fire for a Christmas party when entertainment was banned last year.
William Wragg, a Member of Parliament for Tory, accused the prime minister of “divisive tactics”, while Mark Harper, a former chief whip, questioned why anyone “did things that people at No 10 Downing Street did not intend to do”.
Johnson was also widely criticized by Douglas Ross, the leader of the Scottish Tories, who said the prime minister should resign if he misled the Commons, and Ruth Davidson, a former Scottish Tory leader, who said: “None of this can be far-fetched. They are not dead. Or obviously denying things that can easily be proved.
In an effort to allay the anger, Johnson apologized to Commons for a leaked video showing his assistant Allegra Stratton laughing and joking about a party on December 18 last year. Saying he was “sick” about the video, he asked Simon Case, a cabinet secretary, to investigate whether the event had complied with Covid’s rules.
However, it later emerged that the Case investigation would not include a second party on November 27, when Johnson allegedly gave a speech, or party claims to Johnson’s Downing Street apartment on November 13, which was also rejected. Met police have announced they will not investigate despite complaints from two members of parliament and labor.
Stratton, a spokesman for Cop26, later deleted the tearful statement from outside his home door, saying he should “regret those words all my days”.
Keir Starmer, Labor leader, said it was unbelievable that Johnson pretended to know nothing. “They knew there was a party, they knew it was against the rules, they knew they wouldn’t approve, and they thought it was funny.”
The Labor leader cited the example of the Queen, who sat alone during Prince Philip’s funeral: “Leadership, sacrifice – that is what gives leaders moral authority to lead. Does the prime minister think he has the moral authority to lead and urge the British people to adhere to the rules? “
Johnson has denied allegations that the new rules were speeded up to prevent a crisis in the country. “The British public … recognizes the value of the medical information we provide and you can see the need to take it to heart and act accordingly,” he said.
“Think of the lies. People say we made this announcement to be in line with political events, so imagine that this move would be delayed due to political events. What would the people say? You must take action to protect public health if you have clear evidence. “
Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said that people are “very angry when they see that the rules are not fair”, but this needs to be separated from the evidence that restrictions are needed.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief science adviser, said: “We are now experiencing a rapidly growing viral epidemic and steps must be taken to reduce that.”
Johnson and his two key advisers also stressed the need for boosters to monitor Omicron, although the vaccination passport system only works for those who have two holes at the moment. New data has shown that three doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine may protect against infection with a separate Omicron – but two doses may not be possible.
As tensions mount on Tory’s benches over the move to new frontiers, Johnson appeared to indicate during a press conference that he was determined to impose stricter limits on the uninitiated to prevent a cycle of drastic measures.
Asked why there was no compulsory vaccination, Johnson said there was no case of forcing people to get jabs, but said the UK would need a “national dialogue on how we deal with the disease”.