Boris Johnson faces scrutiny over plan to ‘ride out’ Omicron without fresh rules

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oris Johnson will face close scrutiny over his hope of ‘getting through’ the Omicron wave without further restrictions despite the NHS coming under significant pressure from the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister will argue to his cabinet that they should stick to Plan B measures in England, as he agreed that parts of the health services feel “temporarily overwhelmed”.

He will also face Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer on Prime Minister’s Questions and possible challenges from Tory MPs criticizing the restrictions amid concerns over understaffing.

Government sources have not denied reports suggesting that Covid-19 testing rules will be relaxed to reduce absences, although the timing of the announcement was not clear.

The Telegraph said a change so that the millions of people who test positive in lateral flow tests do not need a confirmatory PCR could come on Wednesday.

NHS trusts were declaring critical incidents and hospitals in Greater Manchester said they would suspend some ‘non-urgent’ operations due to the ‘growing impact’ of Covid-19 and staff shortages.

A record 218,724 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases were announced in England and Scotland on Tuesday, although the figure was inflated by reports delayed during the holiday period.

Mr Johnson has confirmed he will stick to Plan B measures, including advice on working from home, wearing masks and Covid health passes ahead of Wednesday’s review of expiring regulations January 26.

(PA Graphics) / PA Graphics

At a press conference in Downing Street, he argued that the booster’s deployment had given substantial protection and added, “So with the Plan B measures that we introduced before Christmas, we have a chance to overcome this Omicron wave without shutting down our country once. again.”

Mr Johnson agreed the coming weeks were going to be “difficult” and said “some services will be disrupted by staff absences” as he pledged to “fortify” the NHS to resist pressure and protect supply chains.

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