Johnson puts England under new COVID controls

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UPDATE – LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he was starting a so-called Plan B for England, including guidance for people to work from home, to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

“While the picture may get better, and I sincerely hope that it will, we know that the remorseless logic of exponential growth could lead to a big rise in hospitalizations and therefore, sadly, in deaths, and that’s why it’s now the proportionate and the responsible thing to move to Plan B in England,” Johnson told a news conference.

Earlier – Britain could implement tougher COVID-19 measures, including advice to work from home, as early as Thursday in a bid to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, according to media reports.

Johnson could announce as soon as Wednesday the new Plan B which could also include COVID passports for large venues, the reports, citing unnamed government sources, said.

Times Radio presenter Tom Newton Dunn said on Twitter that a source had told him the announcement of Plan B was “85% likely”.

A spokesperson for Johnson’s office said they had no immediate comment.

Sterling and British government bond yields fell on the reports and investors scaled back their bets on the Bank of England raising interest rates on Dec. 16, at the end of its December meeting.

Johnson was facing a backlash after a video surfaced showing his staff laughing and joking over how to explain a gathering in Downing Street during a Christmas COVID lockdown last year when such festivities were banned. 

Photo – A man wears a protective face mask outside Westminster Underground station in London, Britain. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN

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