(Reuters) – LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Sunday that Britain is facing a “tidal wave” of the Omicron variant of coronavirus and that two vaccine doses will not be enough to stop it, as he accelerated the booster rollout program.
Johnson, speaking just hours after federal scientists raised the COVID alert level to 4 on a 5-point scale, said the booster program needed to go more quickly since scientists didn’t know if Omicron was less severe than previous types.
In a televised announcement on Sunday evening, Johnson stated, “A tidal wave of Omicron is coming.” “And I’m afraid it’s now evident that two vaccine doses are simply insufficient to provide the kind of protection we all require.”
Johnson went on to say that because Omicron is far more transmissible than other variants, the National Health Service would struggle to cope with hospitalizations if the mutation swept through a population that hadn’t been boosted.
“Everyone eligible in England who is 18 or older will be able to receive their booster before the New Year,” Johnson added.
Data released on Friday indicated that two doses of the vaccine were ineffective against Omicron in preventing symptomatic infection, while a third dose increased protection to almost 70%. find out more
Military planning teams will be called in, and new vaccine locations will be developed to meet the faster deployment.
In response to the spread of Omicron, Johnson implemented a “Plan B” in England, requiring people to work from home, wear masks in public places, and use vaccine passes to reduce infection rates.
However, many of Johnson’s Conservative Party members are expected to vote against these limits in parliament on Tuesday. Johnson claimed there are no plans for more restrictions as the number of cases rises.
The seven-day average of COVID cases by date reported has increased above 50,000 in recent days, the highest level since the pandemic’s last wave in January.
As of Sunday, Britain has the highest death toll from the virus in Europe, with 146,439 deaths registered within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test.
While this tarnished the government’s image during the epidemic, officials have been recognized for implementing one of the fastest vaccine programs, which helped keep daily death tolls in check.
However, worries about Johnson’s future had resurfaced in recent weeks following a series of scandals, the most damaging of which was accusations that parties were conducted at Downing Street during a 2020 Christmas lockdown when such celebrations were prohibited.
According to a poll conducted by Survation for the Daily Mirror newspaper on Sunday, 77 percent of Britons said they would be less likely to follow COVID guidelines if government officials had broken them.