OPINION - Keep Calm and Have Another Press Conference

·2-min read
 (West End Final)
(West End Final)

Ever mindful of this newsletter’s publication time, Boris Johnson is set to host a press conference at four o’clock this afternoon alongside NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard and Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

(Speaking of whom, there’s a nice video of Javid persuading Sky News’ Jon Craig that he is eligible for a booster before escorting him to get one.)

The Prime Minister is expected to discuss new measures on face coverings on public transport and in shops. In fact, the list of locations where masks must be worn is rather longer and more detailed. For example, it includes auction houses and estate agents (but not cinemas).

Johnson will also set out the expansion of the booster programme. While we already know it will be extended to those aged 18+ and the gap between second and third doses will drop from six months to three, we should hear more about how the rollout will work in practice.

Something that is certain to be brought up by journalists are the comments made this morning by Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency.

Harries warned the public not to socialise “when we don’t particularly need to” and appeared to advocate for more people to work from home.

Speaking earlier today, Johnson said that government guidance wasn’t changing from what was announced over the weekend, and you can expect that line to hold... for the moment.

The thing that politicians and scientists are still waiting for is hard data on Omicron’s transmissibility, severity and ability to evade vaccines. It could be weeks before we know whether the UK response has been a spectacular underreaction, mild overreaction or something in between.

There was however a rather downcast pronouncement from Stephane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna, who conceded that the current set of vaccines were unlikely to be as effective against Omicron as they have been against previous strains. Global markets have fallen as a result.

Finally, if the press conference bears no relation to what I’ve written, please know I came close to writing about the Labour reshuffle instead.

In the comment pages, Nimco Ali writes that access to childcare has held women back for too long, and this must be the big issue at the next election.

Meanwhile, Emma Loffhagen takes on Little Mix and the ex. Emma is, I understand, ‘so over girl band feuds‘.

And finally, Arts Editor Nancy Durrant has compiled a handy list of the best exhibitions to see in London this December.

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What the papers say – December 1

PM to face questions over Government’s approach to stopping Omicron

People over 60 should postpone travel in wake of Omicron variant, WHO warns

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