The omicron variant of the corona virus is rampant in Great Britain. Every tenth employee in the health sector is absent.
London – Regardless of the increasing number of infections, the government in Great Britain does not want to impose any new corona restrictions for the time being. The country must “try to live with Covid-19,” wrote Health Minister Sajid Javid on Saturday (01/01/2022) in an article for the Daily Mail newspaper. There will only be new restrictions “as an absolute last resort”.
Meanwhile, according to a report, almost one in ten employees is absent in the health sector. Great Britain is currently facing new record numbers of new corona infections. This is mainly due to the omicron variant of the virus. On Friday (December 31, 2021) 189,000 new infections were reported within 24 hours.
The number of hospital admissions has also been rising again for some time and has not been as high since March 2021. In the intensive care units, however, the number of patients is stable, wrote Javid. It is still a long way from the numbers that existed around a year ago. This is also due to the massive vaccination campaign in the kingdom. The country is now “in a much stronger position”.
Corona in the UK – Omikron weakens the health sector
However, on Friday (December 31, 2021), more than 110,000 employees in the health sector were absent from work, as the Sunday Times reported. That corresponds to almost one in ten employees. Accordingly, around half of them were sick or had to be quarantined because of the corona virus.
The number of hospital staff missing has multiplied since the end of November 2021, according to figures from the national health service NHS. Due to the rapid spread of the Omikron variant, the English health authorities had already announced on Thursday (December 30th, 2021) that they would provide up to 4,000 additional hospital beds.
Education Minister Nadim Zahawi wrote in an article in the Sunday Telegraph that “a certain amount of distance learning will be necessary” as more and more teachers and students are being quarantined. Before the end of the holiday, he also recommended that students wear masks in the classroom as a “temporary” measure.
Great Britain continues to rely on a high vaccination rate against the corona pandemic
Unlike the regional governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the British government, which is responsible for health policy in England, did not tighten the corona measures over the holidays. Instead, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is counting on increasing the vaccination rate. In his New Year’s Eve message, he called on people to “make vaccinations their New Year’s resolution – it’s much easier than taking weight off or keeping a diary”.
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, a mask recommendation in classrooms has long been in place. In the UK, health policy is a matter for regional governments. The central government in London is responsible for England, which has no government of its own.
Corona in Great Britain: Mask compulsory again in schools in England
On Saturday (January 1st, 2022) 162,572 new corona cases were reported in England alone – a daily record in the largest British part of the country. Because of the rapid spread of the Corona variant Omikron, at least older students should now wear masks again in the classroom. The provisional recommendation applies to students from the seventh grade, i.e. from around the age of twelve. The British government announced this on Sunday (January 2nd, 2022) – a few days before the schools restart.
The measure should ensure that as many young people can attend school for as long as possible. The Association of School Directors welcomed the recommendation. In addition, the Ministry of Health announced another 7,000 air filters for school classes. The teachers’ union criticized this number as being far too low.
Corona: The situation in Germany cannot be compared to that of Great Britain
The German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) wrote on Saturday evening (01.01.2022) on Twitter that Omikron led to “very many” hospital admissions in Great Britain. Intensive care admissions, however, rose more slowly. A “tragedy” has so far not taken place there because the elderly have a high vaccination rate and 75 percent have been boosted. The share of boosters is thus significantly higher than in Germany, which is why the British situation is not comparable to the one here.
In this country, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) again found a slightly increased nationwide seven-day incidence compared to the previous day. However, there is still the restriction that the corona data provide an incomplete picture due to the low test and reporting activity during the holidays. Meanwhile, a new study gives an indication of why omicron gradients are often milder. (na / afp / dpa)