The situation in Great Britain and the optimism of the government, justified by the data: the wave of new cases triggered by Omicron seems to have stabilized. A strategy for moving from the pandemic to the endemic phase should be announced by March
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
LONDON – To show the whole world how to live with Covid: the declared goal of London government, that is preparing to move from the pandemic to the endemic phase of the coronavirus. I hope we will be one of the first big economies – said Education Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, who was formerly the vaccination minister – to show the world how to transition from pandemic to endemic disease, and then deal with it for how long it will stay with us. , be it five, six, seven or ten years.
a optimism justified by the latest data , which show how the wave due to the Omicron variant has stopped and started to decrease: cases are not rising as before and may have stabilized across the country – said Professor David Spiegelhalter, one of the leading British statistical experts -. We certainly won’t see a big increase in ICU admissions and deaths. And all this despite the almost total lack of restrictive measures: at Christmas Boris Johnson had resisted the pressure of the most catastrophic scientists, who called for drastic and immediate measures. A very risky bet, but which once again seems to have paid off: it was a gamble – commented Professor Spiegelhalter himself – but he could have got away with it.
Actually the strategy of live with the virus, instead of aiming for its unrealistic eradication, it has always been the orientation of the British government: and for this reason all restrictions were removed last summer, despite a much higher level of infections than in the rest of Europe. During last autumn, Great Britain had effectively returned to full normalcy: but then the Omicron variant arrived to mess the cards. The Johnson’s government was then forced into a partial reverse and reintroduced the masks indoors (outdoors they were never imposed, even in the most acute phase of the pandemic), launched a mild form of green pass (only for clubs and large events) and recommended working from home when possible.
At Christmas, however, the situation seemed to be getting out of hand and many feared for the stability of the national health system: but Johnson avoided further tightening, including for political reasons. In fact, as many as one hundred deputies of his conservative party had already rebelled against the introduction of those first restrictive measures, in particular the green pass, considered alien to a country with deep-rooted liberal traditions such as Great Britain: and Boris risked distrust if he dared to go beyond.
But whatever the reasons for his choices, the British seem to have managed to bypass the Omicron wave: and now they can again look to the lifting of all restrictions. A fundamental role was played by the vaccination campaign, which was enormously accelerated: by now more than 60 percent of the population over 12 years (below the vaccine is not offered) has also had the third dose. And this without having to resort to any type of vaccination obligation: when a minister was asked if they would follow Italy’s example, he replied We are a free country (in fact in Great Britain no type of mandatory vaccine, they are only recommended ).
The deadline everyone is now looking at is that of January 26, when the government will have to review the measures in force: the right of the conservative party is already asking for the free all and it is likely that the green pass and the recommendation to work from home will be abolished, while the masks, at least on means of transport, could remain still for a while’. But by March Johnson is expected to announce an all-encompassing plan to coexist with Covid, which also includes the end of mass buffers and reduction of days of isolation in case of positivity: in London, the hope is a spring of newfound normality.