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Monday, January 24, 2022

UK government slammed for ‘stop-start’ economic impact of COVID-19 curbs

The UK government is facing renewed criticism of its “stop-start” approach to COVID-19 restrictions, as the country’s health secretary refused to adopt further measures before Christmas.

Senior Conservative MP and former minister Tobias Ellwood said on December 19 that the government’s “bus by bus” approach to tackling COVID-19 has hurt the economy and burdened the National Health Service (NHS).

“That approach needs to stop because it is hurting our economy, exhausting people, and our NHS is not able to cope,” Elwood told Times Radio.

He added that there was “considerable scope” to commission another version “potentially during the summer”.

“We need to plan for it right now. Instead, it’s a stop-start. It’s, you know, locking down and hitting the economy, then trying to revive it again. You like that.” Can’t continue to move forward. So we need to plan better for the future.”

The UK government lifted most of the country’s COVID-19 restrictions in July, but it has tightened epidemiological restrictions again after the CCP (Communist Party of China) detected an Omicron version of the virus.

Under the government’s “Plan B” measures, people have been asked to work from home if they can, with vaccine passports introduced for mass events and nightclubs, and including theaters and theatres. A facade mandate has been implemented for most indoor settings. ,

On 19 December Health Secretary Sajid Javid said there was no guarantee that more measures would not be taken before Christmas.

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Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Javid said the Omicron version is “spreading rapidly” and now accounts for about 80 percent of infections in London and about 60 percent of infections in England.

According to the most recent figures from the UK Health Protection Agency, the death toll in England with the variant has risen to 12, and hospital admissions of patients with confirmed or suspected Omicron variant cases have risen to 104.

Asked about the new restrictions being scrapped before Christmas, Javid said there is “a lot of uncertainty” and it is “time to be more cautious.”

“There are no guarantees in this pandemic, I don’t think,” he said. “At this point, we just have to put everything under review.”

The government’s refusal of further COVID-19 measures has added to uncertainty and rattled UK businesses, which are already complaining about Plan B measures.

Kate Nichols, chief executive of UKHospitality, which represents restaurants, hotels and other hospitality firms, said further restrictions would be disastrous for the industry.

“It is better to do business, even a little bit, than to shut down completely,” Nichols told the BBC. “There are a lot of costs involved in shutting down sites and then reopening them. The fourth lockdown will be the final nail in the coffin for some businesses.

PA Media contributed to this report.

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