Is this ‘Plan B’? The new restrictions the Prime Minister announced at the Downing Street press conference sounded like a much-haggled-over compromise, with the details still being hammered out minutes before.
- The mandatory face mask policy will be extended from schools, shops, public transport and beauty parlous to theatres and cinemas – but not to pubs, bars or restaurants.
- Vaccine passports will be introduced for nightclubs and unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, but not pubs, bars or restaurants – or No 10 Downing Street, presumably.
- Vaccine passports will be introduced for unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000, and any outdoor venue, whether seated or unseated, with more than 10,000 people. (So some but not all football stadiums?)
- If you haven’t been double-jabbed, a negative lateral flow test result will enable you to access those venues that require a vaccine passport.
- Work from home – if you can.
If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, this isn’t ‘Plan B’ so much as ‘Plan C for Camel’.
It goes without saying that there is no evidence these measures will suppress infection of any Covid virus, let alone omicron. After all, vaccine passports in Scotland have had zero effect, as confirmed in the Scottish Government’s recent 70-page report.
Being double-jabbed only marginally reduces your susceptibility to infection from Delta at best, and probably doesn’t reduce it at all, and self-administered lateral flow test are notoriously unreliable and likely to produce more false negatives than false positives. So insisting that people produce evidence that they’ve been vaccinated or have tested negative before admitting them to (checks notes) nightclubs, unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people in them, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and all outdoor venues with more than 10,000 is unlikely to have any impact on infection. Particularly when you factor in that the vaccines aren’t designed to protect people against the omicron variant.