The UK government is holding an emergency Cobra meeting to discuss the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson, still embroiled in the Downing Street Christmas party controversy, announced a move to ‘Plan B’ in England, including face masks once again becoming compulsory in most indoor venues, the rollout of vaccine passports and people being advised to work from home where possible. There’s also the potential for ‘Plan C’ restrictions in the new year.
The meeting today, December 10, will be chaired by levelling-up secretary Michael Gove, alongside first ministers and deputy first ministers of the devolved administrations.
‘Cobra will discuss COVID-19 data and ongoing coordination work,’ the PM’s spokesperson said in a statement, as LBC reports.
In November, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford wrote a letter to Johnson urging that ‘anything less than a four nations approach would be ineffective’ in combatting the new coronavirus variant.
‘We need to work collectively – and effectively – as Four Nations to take all reasonable steps to control the ingress of the virus to the country and then to limit its spread,’ it read.
In Scotland, there’s been 19 Covid-linked deaths over the past 24 hours, as well as more than 5,000 confirmed cases. The Omicron variant is expected to become the dominant variant of coronavirus in ‘days, not weeks’, Sturgeon said. The UK total of Omicron cases currently stands at 817.
‘The fact is, we do face a renewed and very severe challenge in the face of of the new Omicron variant. To be blunt, because of the much greater and faster transmissibility of this new variant, we may be facing – indeed we may be starting to experience – a potential tsunami of infections,’ she told a briefing in Edinburgh.
‘Omicron right now is rising exponentially, indeed what we are seeing in the data just now is perhaps the fastest exponential growth that we have seen in this pandemic so far. If that continues, and we have no reason, at this stage, to believe that it won’t, Omicron is going to very quickly overtake Delta as the dominant strain in Scotland.
‘Indeed, I think we can now say with some confidence that we expect it to overtake Delta within days, not weeks – we estimate this could be as early as the very beginning of next week.’
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Topics: News, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Now, UK