'Plan B' the right approach to tackle Omicron, says MP
- Credit: Archant
Omicron is set to spread across the country “extraordinarily quickly” and face masks should be worn in more settings, according to North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker.
Speaking following parliament’s approval of ‘Plan B’ measures, Mr Baker said caution was the best policy for places like North Norfolk, which has the oldest average age of any constituency in the country.
Mr Baker said: “People are worried, people want to ensure they feel safe, they want to ensure that they have a Christmas. There are businesses which will be affected by a surge in infections and that is where the focus really should be.
“It seems inevitable that Omicron will spread across the population extraordinarily quickly, and all we can hope to do is slow it slightly.”
The Plan B measures make face covering compulsory in most indoor settings, and make the NHS Covid Pass - or ‘vaccine passport’ mandatory in some settings.
Mr Baker said he understood that many constituents - as well as fellow Tory MPs who voted against Plan B - had concerns about vaccine passports.
He said this was misplaced, as people could also show a negative lateral flow test result for the few venues, such as nightclubs, where this new rule will apply.
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Mr Baker said: “I don’t think it’s a huge ask to show a negative test or proof you have been vaccinated if you are going into a nightclub, although there are not too many of those in north Norfolk. I think that is sensible - we do want to avoid another lockdown at all costs.”
Of North Norfolk’s 89,000 residents aged over 18, just over 50,000 - around 57pc, had already had their booster jab as of Tuesday. This figure may be higher as the jab roll-out accelerated this week.
Omicron is considered far more infectious than previous variants of the coronavirus, with rates doubling every two days or so.
Mr Baker added: “We know that having one or two jabs has little impact on your chance of getting and transmitting the virus, but getting your booster does reduce it by 75pc.”
Vaccination sites across are operating 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with more centres set to join them. Booster jabs have to be booked and are not available via walk-ins.