The full official notes from the latest meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) – published on Friday – show that experts believe telecommuting is one way “highly relevant” to reduce transmission of the new variant.
The Sage committee also warned ministers that they may not be able to wait for data above the omicron before deciding whether to introduce more restrictions.
“Even if measures are put in place immediately, there may not be time to be completely certain whether they will be sufficient before decisions on further action are needed,” the document states.
Professor Adam Finn, a member of the government’s Joint Committee on Immunizations and Immunizations (JCVI), recommends that people return to working from home.
“The more people who can work from home now, the better, until we’re more specific about what’s going to happen,” said Prof Finn. Guardians.
The University of Bristol expert added: “We need to buy time. If it dies in three weeks, that’s fine, we can all relax, but now is the time when you can stem a big wave. ”
The warning comes before 75 more cases of the omicron variant have been confirmed in the UK, double the UK’s total.
The UK Health Security Agency said on Friday evening that cases have now been detected in the East Midlands, East of England, London, North East, North West, South East, South West and West Midlands.
A total of 104 cases have now been identified in England, another 45 in Scotland and one in Wales.
Earlier this week, Professor Susan Michie, a member of the Sage committee, said that working from home should be reintroduced to combat omicron transmission.
“If you wait until we’re sure you’ve lost it,” she said I. “You need to act fast, you need to act hard and you need to act before you really need to act.
Minutes from the latest Sage leaked earlier this week warned that the variant could see a “very large wave” of Covid infections in the UK and may need “strict” rules. ” to protect the NHS.
The full document released Friday afternoon warns that both the release of vaccine passports and work-from-home instructions remain potential ways to respond to omicrons in the coming days.
“Sage’s previous advice on measures to reduce transmission remains relevant, including but not limited to advice on ventilation, face covering, hand hygiene, contact reduction (e.g. working from home). ), vaccination certification and the importance of efficacy testing, contact tracing and isolation,” the document states.
The Liberal Democrats called on the government to introduce guidance recommending a return to teleworking – saying ministers would be “crazy” to ignore the advice of scientists.
Party health spokesman Daisy Cooper MP said: “How many times does Sage need to recommend ‘work from home’ before the government really listens?”
The MP added: “Working from home is a cheap and simple way to reduce contact and transmission of Covid, and the government is crazy to ignore it.”
The government will review its most recent restrictions – the reintroduction of mandatory mask wearing in shops and public places – for a period of three weeks.
But ministers have made it clear they do not want to see a return to home instruction – one of the so-called ‘plan B’ measures.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has suggested the government could put in place a review and remove existing curbs earlier than planned. “We might not even need to wait three weeks,” he said earlier this week.
It comes as NHS England said a double rollout of the Covid booster would be done “no later than” December 13, after the government decided the time between the second dose and the booster would be cut. reduced from six months to three months.
Meanwhile, it is reported that the majority of omicron Covid cases in the UK have been detected in people who have received at least two vaccines.
Of the first 22 omicron cases analyzed, 12 of them were linked to people who discovered they were infected more than 14 days after receiving their last injection, according to the UK Health Security Administration. Great Britain.
In a worrying development, South African scientists have reported that omicrons appear more than previous variants to cause reinfection in people who have had Covid.
In more encouraging news, a UK report suggests that getting a third Covid jab will result in a good level of protection from the virus. CovBoost study published in Fingertips found that the body’s T-cell immune response from boosters provides strong protection from serious illness and death.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/covid-omicron-work-from-home-b1969592.html Bringing ‘work from home’ back to tackle omicrons, top advisors tell No. 10