Omicron variant: UK government measures adopted, despite broad Conservative rebellion

Weakened by bursts of scandals, the government of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson succeeded, Tuesday, December 14, in having Parliament adopt its measures to stop the spread of the Omicron variant, despite the sling of its majority – on an unprecedented scale .

The United Kingdom, one of the countries in Europe most affected by the pandemic (more than 146,500 dead), is facing a ” tsunami “, according to Mr Johnson, of cases linked to the new variant of the highly transmissible coronavirus, which he is trying to contain with an unprecedented vaccine booster campaign.

To prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed, Mr Johnson announced new restrictions: daily tests for contact cases, teleworking, indoor masks and compulsory health passes during major events. This last measure, particularly criticized by the deputies of the conservative majority, the Tories, who consider it liberticidal and harmful for the economy, was finally adopted with 369 votes against 126.

A mixed victory for the Prime Minister, given the scale of the rebellion of his camp: at least 97 elected officials voted against this measure, that is to say much more than the sixty initially planned, never- seen for the conservative leader.

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“Discriminatory” measures

This wind of revolt could not have turned out badly for Mr Johnson. Two years after his historic electoral victory with the promise to achieve Brexit, the Prime Minister sees his popularity in the polls collapse and calls for resignations multiply after a series of scandals.

The British criticize him for events held in Downing Street in December 2020, when the population was asked to limit social interactions to the extreme: an online quiz in which Mr Johnson took part, surrounded by collaborators, and a party bringing together a party. Staff.

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These revelations linked to non-compliance with health rules also add to numerous accusations of corruption and cronyism, which could encourage calls for a vote of no confidence within the Conservative Party. Tuesday afternoon, the confrontation with the Tories was heated.

Measures deemed “discriminatory”

The government’s actions reflect a “Permanent change in the understanding of what freedom is in this country”, denounced the elected conservative Miriam Cates, calling for a return to a society “Of freedom and responsibility”. Making the mask mandatory indoors would send a signal, according to her “In panic”, while some schools are already closing early for the holidays. She also expressed her intention to oppose the health passes, considering them “Discriminatory”.

His colleague Anthony Mangnall added that he was also opposed to compulsory vaccination for the entire UK public health service. “We cannot continue to terrify people”, he said, “Amazed” by the way the government has used fear in recent weeks to persuade the public.

With the help of the Labor opposition, all government measures were finally passed on Tuesday. They will be added to the end of the very harsh restrictions on arrivals from eleven African countries, including South Africa, announced earlier today by the Minister of Health, Sajid Javid, in order to soften the elected officials. angry. The latter tried to convince MPs that the new measures were “Balanced and proportionate” facing the Omicron variant, which according to him already contaminates 200,000 people every day, stressing that they were ” much less “ drastic “Than those established in most European countries”.

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The entertainment world affected

In the United Kingdom, the new wave of contaminations is already being felt in the entertainment world, where several musicals run, such as The Lion King Where Life of Pi, had to cancel performances because of cases in their teams.

English football is also strongly affected: the Premier League recorded 42 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, a record since test results began to be published in May 2020.

In Scotland, Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon also warned of a large increase in cases, explaining that two people infected with the Omicron variant had been hospitalized. “We are not asking you to cancel or change your plans for Christmas”she said, but called on the Scots to “Limit their social interactions indoors” to a maximum of three outbreaks.

The World with AFP

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Omicron variant: UK government measures adopted, despite broad Conservative rebellion

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