Commenting on the pandemic as we approach Christmas, Michael Fabricant says:
With the Government’s decision not to lock-down over Christmas, it will be an easier time than it was last year though I know a number of people who will be feeling the loss of the passing of close relatives and friends during the course of 2021.
I know there have been calls by some politicians for the Government to provide “immediate certainty” for businesses owners about what will happen next week, after Christmas. But if the Government had done that, they would have been forced to play it safe and announce very tough restrictions. No-one would have been grateful for that.
Moreover, that would be an unwise decision as there are glimmers of light. It is possible that the new Omicron variant of Covid is less dangerous than previous variants. That is why the Government has rightly, in my opinion, adopted a wait and see policy which could mean far fewer restrictions than would be necessary if a decision were made now.
How so? According to a study from South Africa, Omicron is 80% less likely to result in hospitalisations and causes 70% less severe illness than other strains.
More importantly, despite South Africa being very different from the UK, our own authorities are edging towards a similar, though slightly less optimistic, conclusion. A crucial analysis of the potency of Omicron is expected from the UK Health Security Agency in the next day or so and the Government will base its future decisions on that.
But we still have to be cautious with the World Health Organisation saying that Omicron is highly transmissible and likely to be the dominant strain throughout Europe by the New Year.
The UK has the fastest vaccine programme in Europe and one of the very best in the world. Over 30 million people have now received their booster jabs while many European countries have not yet even started their renewed vaccine programme.
Everyone should take full advantage of these free vaccine jabs. Although Omicron is sufficiently different from the original Wuhan disease for some infections to escape the vaccine, the booster jab does prevent most people catching severe Covid. It’s a life saver.
So, as we enter 2022, this disease is unlikely to end soon. Nevertheless, our economy is strong and there are more vacancies than there are jobseekers with more in employment than before the pandemic began. We are currently the envy of Europe.
Let’s hope that 2022 will begin to see the end of severe Covid. But, in the meantime, if you have lonely relatives or neighbours, do keep an eye out for them while ensuring they remain safe from infection. And may I wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a better 2022 than 2021!