News and Commentary

U.K. Will ‘Ride Out’ Omicron Wave, PM Boris Johnson Announces
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual press conference to update the nation on the status of the Covid-19 pandemic, in the Downing Street briefing room in central London on January 4, 2022. - British hospitals have switched to a "war footing" due to staff shortages caused by a wave of Omicron infections, the government said Tuesday, as the country's daily Covid caseload breached 200,000 for the first time.
JACK HILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that he plans to “ride out” Omicron, and that he is not looking to roll out further restrictions on citizens, despite other European nations imposing strict lockdowns and other measures.

“The prime minister said there was a ‘good chance’ he would not impose fresh measures and would recommend continuing the government’s ‘Plan B’ strategy in England to ministers on Wednesday,” the BBC reported.

Johnson also announced a daily testing regime for 100,000 so-called critical workers.

“The testing regime from 10 January will be for key industries including food processing, transport and the border force, in order to reduce the spread of the virus to colleagues,” the BBC explained.

However, Johnson acknowledged that parts of the National Health Service (NHS) would feel “temporarily overwhelmed” by a surge of Omicron cases, and that those who believe the pandemic to be over are “profoundly wrong.”

“The NHS is under huge pressure. I won’t provide a definition of what being overwhelmed would constitute because I think that different trusts and different places, at different moments, will feel at least temporally overwhelmed. And hospitals at the moment are sending out signals saying that they are feeling the pressure hugely. I understand that, and I thank them for the work that they are doing. It is absolutely fantastic,” Johnson said. 

“I’ve just got to say to people, as I said yesterday, there will be a difficult period for our wonderful NHS for the next few weeks because of Omicron. I just think we have to get through it as best as we possibly can. We will give the NHS all the support that we can,” Johnson added.

Johnson also said the country had a chance to “ride out this Omicron wave without shutting down our country once again,” and that “We can keep our schools and our businesses open and we can find a way to live with this virus.”

“It has to balance the effect on people’s lives and livelihoods of lockdowns, which are painful, which take away people’s life chances and which do a great deal of social damage, damage to people’s mental health as well as damage to the economy,” Johnson said of his government’s “Plan B” restrictions, which include working from home where possible, mask wearing and COVID passports for some venues.

“We’re mobilizing our volunteers — the emerging territorial army of the NHS — and we’re working to identify those NHS trusts which are most likely to need actual military support, so this can be prepared now,” Johnson explained. “As our NHS moves to a war footing, I will be recommending to cabinet tomorrow that we continue with Plan B, because the public have responded and changed their behavior, your behavior, buying valuable time to get boosters in arms and help the NHS to cope with the Omicron wave.”

Johnson also promoted booster shots as a way to “contain the virus.”

“The freedoms that we are able to maintain in the teeth of this Omicron wave have been made possible by the number of people getting boosted,” Johnson tweeted. “It’s the best way to contain this virus, help our NHS, and keep our country open – so please Get Boosted Now.”

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  U.K. Will ‘Ride Out’ Omicron Wave, PM Boris Johnson Announces