Bring back ‘work from home’ to tackle omicron, top advisers tell No 10

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Top scientific advisers have recommended that Boris Johnson’s government should consider bringing back “work from home” guidance to tackle the spread of the coronavirus variant.

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Full official notes from the latest Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) meeting – published on Friday – show that experts believe remote working is a “highly relevant” way to reduce transmissions of the new version. .

The Sage committee also warned ministers that they would not be able to wait for new data on Omicron before considering bringing in more restrictions.


The document states, “Even if measures are introduced immediately, there may not be time to fully ascertain whether they are sufficient before deciding on further course of action. “

It comes as Prof Adam Finn, a member of the government’s Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI), recommended people work from home.

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“The more people now that can work from home, the better, until we are more certain about what is going to happen,” Professor Finn said. Guardian,

The expert from the University of Bristol said: “We need to buy time. If it’s dead in three weeks, well, we can all relax, but now is the time when you can stop a big wave from happening.” Huh.

Earlier this week Prof Susan Michi, a member of the Sage Committee, said that working from home should be resumed to combat omicron transmission.

“If you wait until we’ve got the certainty you’ve lost it,” she said I, “You need to act quickly, you need to work hard and you need to act before you can actually act.

The latest Sage minutes leaked earlier this week warned that the edition could see a “very large wave” of Covid infections in the UK and that “stringent” rules may be needed to protect the NHS.

The full document, published on Friday afternoon, warned that both the introduction of the vaccine passport and the work-from-home guidance are potential ways for Omicron to react in the coming days.

“Previous Sage advice on measures to reduce transmission remains highly relevant, including ventilation, face coverings, hand hygiene, minimizing contacts (eg by working from home), vaccination certification, and the importance of effective testing. , but is not limited to advice regarding contact tracing and isolation,” states the document.

Liberal Democrats urged the government to bring in guidance recommending the return of remote working – saying ministers would be “crazy” to ignore the advice of scientists.

Party health spokeswoman Daisy Cooper MP said: “How many times does Sage need to recommend ‘work from home’ before the government can really hear?”

The MP said: “Working from home is a cheap and simple way to reduce contact and COVID transmission, and the government is crazy to ignore it.”

The government is set to review its most recent restrictions – the resumption of mandatory mask-wearing in shops and the public – in three weeks’ time.

But ministers have made it clear they do not want to see a return to work from home guidance – one of its so-called ‘Plan B’ measures.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has suggested that the government may bring forward its review and lift existing restrictions before the plan. “We don’t even need to wait for three weeks,” he said earlier this week.

It comes as NHS England said a ramped-up rollout of COVID booster jabs would take place “no later than 13 December”, when the government decided to reduce the time between the second dose and the booster from six months to three months .

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the vast majority of all known omicron COVID cases in England have been found in people who have had at least two vaccines.

According to the UK Health Protection Agency, of the 22 confirmed omicron cases as of 30 November, 12 of them were linked to people who learned they had been infected more than 14 days after receiving their last jab.


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