PMQs: May says 'omicron is less serious than previous variants'
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The former Prime Minister praised Boris Johnson for “resisting” pressure to impose stricter coronavirus rules over the holiday period. Theresa May also demanded from her successor reassurances for business that a new lockdown will not be considered if new mutations of the coronavirus were to develop. Addressing the Prime Minister in the Commons, Mrs May said: “May I commend my Right Honourable Friend for resisting calls from the Labour Party and others for more restrictions before Christmas?
“And also for the changes he has announced today. Omicron is less serious than previous variants.
“We will see new variants appear in future and the likelihood is they will continue to be less serious.
“It is not in the national interests to partially or wholly shut sections of our economy every time we see a new variant.”
She added: “So will my Right Honourable Friend take this opportunity to inform the House to whether and how he will be changing his approach when new variants arise?”
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Mr Johnson welcomed Mrs May’s support and said he agreed complete shutdowns of the British economy as supported by the Labour Party would not be the solution.
He said: “She’s totally right in what she says. We simply cannot go on as a country and as a society by reaching endlessly for lockdown, which is their instinct.
“No matter what the cost, no matter what the damage it does. We have to remain cautious and I’m afraid I can’t tell the House we’re going to rule out absolutely everything to protect the public.
“But I’m confident as I said to the country last night that we can get through this wave of Omicron with the balanced and proportionate approach we have.
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“For the future, what we need is the multi-variant vaccines that can deal with any type of Covid mutation, any type of variant.”
The Prime Minister said all measures his Government has taken so far are “balanced and proportionate ways of ensuring we can live with Covid without letting our guard down”.
Updating MPs upon their return to the Commons, he said: “And we can only do this thanks to the biggest and fastest booster campaign in Europe.
“Yet, there are still almost nine million people eligible who have not had their booster, as many as 90 percent of those in intensive care with Covid have not had their booster, and over 60 percent in intensive care have not had any vaccination at all.
“There are two million slots available in the next week alone.
“So I urge honourable members on all sides of the House to do everything possible to encourage your constituents to get boosted now.”
He added: “This is the very best way to save lives, reduce pressure on our NHS and keep our country open.”
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