Staff joke about Downing Street Christmas party during lockdown
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Boris Johnson is expected to announce the introduction of new restrictions against Covid at some point in the next 24 hours. A Government source told the Guardian that "new Covid rules are imminent" after a video emerged of Downing Street staff laughing about a Christmas party held last year.
Reports suggest that Mr Johnson could reintroduce work from home guidelines and introduce Covid vaccine passports.
Three senior Whitehall officials told the Financial Times that the Government has decided it will impose these winter 'Plan B' measures.
But new analysis by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has revealed that these measures would have a damning impact on the British economy, at a time when the financial recovery from previous lockdowns is already pulling at taxpayers' pockets.
The think tank has predicted that the restrictions could add fresh costs of £4billion every month.
Boris sent urgent lockdown warning: Plan B could cost Britons eye-watering £4bn per MONTH. (Image: Getty)
Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday. (Image: PA)
Julian Jessop, Economics Fellow at the IEA, said: "Even without a full national lockdown, the additional Covid restrictions apparently being considered in Whitehall could easily knock two percent off GDP – costing the UK economy £4billion a month – and force the taxpayer to stump up billions more to prevent a new wave of bankruptcies and job losses."
It is also understood that the costs of new measures would not stop at the economy.
Toby Young, Editor of the Daily Sceptic said other impacts will be "even worse" than that on the economy.
He told Express.co.uk: "It is right to recognise the ruinous economic impact of 'Plan B', but even worse than the financial cost would be the constant demand from petty officials to see evidence of our vaccination status.
Boris Johnson leaves for Prime Minister’s Questions. (Image: PA)
"Britain is not and never should be a 'papers' please' country."
Mr Jessop added: "[The economic cost] is on top of all the social costs and harms to people's wellbeing and liberties, as well as the risk of further disruption to children’s education.
"Some will argue that this would be a fair price to pay to clamp down on Omicron. However, this would require much stronger evidence that the new variant is more deadly, not just more transmissible.
“This is a particularly high bar to clear in the UK, where most experts agree that the population has now acquired a high degree of immunity due to past infections and from the vaccine booster programme."
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Covid winter ‘Plan B’ explained. (Image: Express)
Reports of the imminent introduction of new measures come in spite of warnings from numerous key scientific advisors, including the Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, and respected institutions, such as the World Health Organisation, suggesting that fears are being overplayed.
Professor Calum Semple of the Government advisory group SAGE said last week: "This is not a disaster, and the headlines from some of my colleagues saying ‘this is horrendous’ I think are hugely overstating the situation."
Commenting on the Government's response to Omicron, including the recent tightening up of face mask rules, Professor Karol Sikora, a leading cancer specialist, told Express.co.uk: "Sensible precautions seem realistic but some of the precautions are just silly."
He added that "politicians have got their priorities wrong", focussing on a virus with an incredibly low death rate while continuing to do too little about more series diseases, such as cancer.
Boris Johnson. (Image: PA)
He said: "[Politicians] want to show they can do things" by reacting fast, but questioned whether this is the right thing to do.
The total death count from the Omicron variant still stands at zero, according to the World Health Organisation, despite the variant having spread to close to 50 countries across the world.
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