Joe Biden: The omicron variant is no cause for panic

Joe Biden said: ‘If people are vaccinated and wear their mask, there’s no need for lockdowns’ – Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Joe Biden on Monday said there was “no need” for new Covid restrictions in the face of the omicron variant and its emergence was “not a cause for panic”.

Speaking from the White House, the US president predicted that cases of the variant would reach America – but added that was not a reason for another lockdown.

“This variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” Mr Biden said. “If people are vaccinated and wear their mask, there's no need for lockdowns.”

His comments mark a contrast to the approach taken by Boris Johnson, who has been accused of rushing into a new crackdown over the weekend despite a lack of clarity over the potency of omicron. South African scientists said there was no evidence of the variant causing serious illness, and no hospitalisations have yet been recorded.

However, Mr Johnson pushed ahead with new requirements for people to wear face masks in certain settings and self-isolate after arriving from abroad, which come into effect at 4am on Tuesday.

The NHS has been ordered to speed up the rollout of Covid booster vaccines as Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, vowed to put the third jabs programme “on steroids”.

All adults will be eligible for a top-up jab and the waiting time after the second dose has been slashed from six months to three after the Government's science advisers agreed to the change.

Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, the UK's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said the booster campaign was now “as urgent as it could possibly be” – but there were few details on exactly when younger adults can get the jab.

Around 25 million people who have yet to get their boosters are now in line for a third jab at some point, but on Monday night NHS officials were unable to say when the rule change would take effect.

Downing Street is hoping to get a million more people a week jabbed with boosters than the current rate – an increase of around 40 per cent.

It would mean a rise from around 2.4 million booster jabs being deployed a week to 3.4 million. Government officials believe it could take three to four weeks to reach that figure.

On Monday, two further cases of the omicron variant were detected in England and six more in Scotland, taking the UK total to 11. But scientists warned it could be weeks before the threat the variant poses to current vaccine resistance is known.

Mr Johnson has issued a fresh plea to Britons to get vaccinated, with ministers arguing that, whatever the danger posed by omicron, people will be better protected if jabbed.

“The measures taking effect are proportionate and responsible, and will buy us time in the face of this new variant,” the Prime Minister said in a statement.

“Based on everything we know, our vaccines and boosters remain our best line of defence – so it is more important than ever that people come forward when eligible to get boosted.

“Not only will today's steps help us slow down the variant's spread, but they will also help us protect each other and the gains we have all worked so hard for.

“The measures are temporary and precautionary, and will be reviewed in three weeks. The regulations will be kept under review to ensure they only remain necessary and proportionate.”

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, and Mark Drakeford, her Welsh counterpart, called on the Government to go further on new restrictions. In a letter to Mr Johnson, they requested eight days of self-isolation for all new arrivals, a Treasury guarantee of more financial support and a Cobra meeting to discuss omicron.

However, all three requests were rebuffed, with both Downing Street and Mr Javid arguing those steps were not needed – even as they stressed that nothing could be categorically ruled out in the future.

Mr Javid told MPs that if omicron proved to be “no more dangerous” than the delta variant prevalent in the UK, the new restrictions would not be kept “a day longer than necessary”. On Tuesday, MPs will vote on the measures – but there was frustration on Monday that they were only being given a say after the legal changes came into effect.

Details released by the Government on Monday night showed the new face masks requirement would apply more widely than previously believed, including in hair salons and veterinary surgeries.

Greg Clark, the Tory MP and former Cabinet minister, urged Mr Javid to “avoid taking any panic measures if we see a rise in infections during the weeks ahead, as seems inevitable, and concentrate instead on the vaccines' effectiveness against severe illness and hospitalisation”.

Mr Javid said Mr Clark was “absolutely right that what matters as we look ahead around this new variant – is, more than anything, hospitalisations”.

The Health Secretary also rejected Labour calls for face masks to be made compulsory in pubs, restaurants and school classrooms, telling MPs: “If we want to live with the virus for the long term, we must follow the evidence and act in a proportionate and responsible way if a variant has the potential to thwart our progress.

“And as we do this we are taking a well-rounded view, looking not just the impact of these measures on the virus, but the impact to the economy, education, and non-Covid health such as mental health.”

News Related


EA announces Respawn is working on three new Star Wars games

© Provided by GamePur EA and Lucasfilm Games announced in a press release published on Tuesday that Respawn Entertainment, the company behind Apex Legends and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, ... Read more »

Sandwich-maker Greencore feels investor heat over pandemic pay awards

Greencore, the London-listed sandwich-maker, is facing a big investor revolt this week after paying its top executives lavish bonuses despite not repaying millions of pounds of taxpayer support. © Other ... Read more »

Michael Saylor's MicroStrategy will keep up its bitcoin buying despite cryptocurrency rout: report

© Joe Raedle/Getty Images Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy. Joe Raedle/Getty Images MicroStrategy said it plans to continue its bitcoin buying this year, despite the crypto rout. The Wall Street ... Read more »

Focusing on Form Helped This New Dad Build Muscle and Burn Fat

For Kunal Kumar, a 38-year-old Risk Manager from London Bridge, becoming a new father was a turning point in his fitness journey. He wanted to be mentally and physically strong; ... Read more »

Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett gets engaged to girlfriend Amy Paternoster

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Amy P (@amypaternoster) This will be a life-changing year for Kenny Pickett in more ways than one. Over the weekend, the ... Read more »

Pandemic grade inflation fears as number of first-class degrees awarded to university students rises to 36% from 14% in 2010

In the 2020/21 academic year, more than a third - 36% - of degrees were firstsThis is another increase from the figure of 35% in 2019/20, and 28% in 2018/19 Just 14% of degrees awarded were firsts in the 2009/10 academic year Researchers say the high proportion of top degrees for the second year running could be explained by unis mitigating for the effects of coronavirus disruptions  Read more »

Middlesex chairman criticised for comments on Black and Asian interest in cricket

O’Farrell has been heavily criticised for comments made in front of the DCMS select committee (Parliament TV) The chairman of Middlesex County Cricket Club has been criticised for comments made ... Read more »

Inside the VERY close relationship between Nick Kyrgios and his 'best mate' doubles partner - as the controversial pair are praised for 'changing Australian tennis' and bringing in a raucous new set of fans

Nick Kyrgios was caught grabbing Thanasi Kokkinakis' butt before matchPair have gone on incredible run in the doubles at the Australian Open Aussies have moved into the semi-finals after Tuesday afternoon's shock win  Read more »

Why SEVEN Chinese airlines have vanished from Australian airways after they used to be a common sight at our airports - as $12.4billion economic boom is wiped out

Chinese travel to Australia falls dramatically with only two carrier still operatingThe Covid pandemic coupled with a diplomatic spat has destroyed travel sectorAustralia missing out on $12.4billion a year as 1.4 million Chinese stay home Read more »

Man was tortured, robbed and left for dead in Cardiff park, jury hears

Photograph: South Wales Police/PA Two men and girl who attacked Gary Jenkins motivated by ‘greed, homophobia and liking of violence’ A consultant psychiatrist was tortured, robbed and left for dead ... Read more »

Elsa Pataky looks stylish in a black padded jacket as she steps out for dinner in London with dapper husband Chris Hemsworth

Elsa Pataky and her husband Chris Hemsworth stepped out in London on Monday night as they headed to dinner together. The model and actress, 45, wrapped up warm in a black ... Read more »

Thousands of kids could be locked out of school in WA or forced to wear masks as Covid-zero obsessive Mark McGowan plans 'disaster response' for Omicron - despite just 14 new cases

Thousands of kids could be locked out of schools if cases rise in WAMark McGowan cancelled February 5 re-opening date due to Omicron rise Students go back to school on Monday, with masks mandated for secondaryThis will include kids as young as seven when and if Covid case numbers riseSchools could also be fully or partially closed if cases arise during new year  Read more »

Lupita Nyong'o's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Training Video Is A Welcome Update After All The Setbacks

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty When “Black Panther” arrived in theaters back in 2018, audiences flocked to see Chadwick Boseman lead his own movie as T’Challa in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film ... Read more »

Jack Quaid Tells A Hilarious David Arquette Story From The Set Of Scream - Exclusive

Vivien Killilea/Getty Images The “Scream” franchise has always been a titillating combination of bloody horror, psychological thrills, and balls-to-the-walls meta madness. The series maintains its intensity while displaying parody characteristics ... Read more »

Loeb, Gutierrez to remain in XE with Hamilton's X44 team

The duo finished runner-up in the inaugural campaign of the all-electric SUV off-road racing championship after topping all five of the combined qualifying leader boards. Power steering issues and shunts ... Read more »

Food for Thought: Can What We Eat Influence Our Mental Health?

When the pandemic hit, Jenny Lee headed to the grocery store like everybody else, stocking up on dry pasta, canned sauces and frozen food—mostly processed foods with a long shelf ... Read more »

Colin Graves told by MP: 'Put up or shut up', amid row over influence at Yorkshire

Colin Graves, the former ECB chairman, has been told to “put up or shut up”, and accept an invitation to testify before the parliamentary select committee investigating racism in English ... Read more »

Steve Diamond: Worcester Warriors make changes at top as Jonathan Thomas departs

© PA Images Bath v Worcester Warriors – Gallagher Premiership – The Recreation Ground Former Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond has been appointed as Worcester Warriors’ next director of rugby ... Read more »

Matteo Berrettini becomes 1st Italian man to reach Australian Open semis after 5-set win over Gael Monfils

Matteo Berrettini 7th seed Matteo Berrettini became the first Italian man to reach the Australian Open semi-final when he fended ended a heroic comeback from senior campaign Gael Monfils in ... Read more »

Inflation and Omicron will dent world growth in 2022, says IMF

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock The International Monetary Fund has sharply cut its growth forecast for 2022 with a warning that higher-than-expected inflation and the Omicron variant have ... Read more »

Downton's Julian Fellowes insists The Gilded Age is 'different' to his hit period drama

Downton Abbey’s creator has insisted The Gilded Age will be different to his big hit after comparisons to his original blockbuster series. Julian Fellowes appeared on Good Morning Britain to ... Read more »

‘There is absolutely systemic racism': BAME headteachers share their views

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian Josephine Okokon, head of St Martins-in-the-Field high school for girls, London My race became an issue very early in my career ... Read more »

North Korea tests suspected cruise missiles in fifth launch this year

North Korea fired two suspected cruise missiles on Tuesday, South Korea‘s military said said, its fifth weapons test this year. Pyongyang has been flexing its military muscles while ignoring US ... Read more »

Central Bank issues warning as ‘spectacular' price hikes hit all homes

A ­‘spectacular’ series of price hikes mean that every household will face rising costs for the rest of the year, the Governor of the Central Bank warned. Inflation has risen ... Read more »

Government Twitter account advised users to ‘avoid singing and Christmas parties'

© Adrian Dennis Boris Johnson promoted adherence to coronavirus restrictions on the same day as some of the parties (Adrian Dennis/PA) In the same week as several Downing Street gatherings, ... Read more »

Belly Mujinga's inquest to take place this summer, coroner confirms

The inquest of railway station worker Belly Mujinga will be held this summer, more than two years after she died with coronavirus, a coroner has confirmed. Andrew Walker, senior coroner ... Read more »

Some tutors on Covid catch-up scheme ‘not good with children', MPs told

© PA Wire Exam boards are concerned that some tutors may assist their students too much in preparing work to count towards their grades (PA Wire). Some of the tutors ... Read more »

3 ways you can avoid refund delays this tax season, according to the IRS

© Provided by Business Insider Budget constraints and pandemic-related issues may delay your tax refund this year. Media Photos/Getty Images A backlogged and underfunded IRS may struggle this year during ... Read more »

Finance expert answers the most 'Googled' money questions - and shares her beginner's guide to investing and mortgage 'golden rule'

A finance guru has answered the top five most Googled money questions Topics included how to make money, how to invest and cryptocurrency Vanessa Stoykov, from Sydney, aims to help others make good money decisionsHer 'golden rule' when buying a house is to borrow less than you can affordShe recommends Raiz and Sharesies for beginners entering the stock market  Read more »

Biden's under-fire top aide Ron Klain suggests he could STEP DOWN this year as Dems blame him for pushing a woke agenda and 'creating a monster' out of the radical left wing of the party

Klain, 60, has been grappling with a slew of reports blaming him for tensions between President Joe Biden and moderate DemocratsHe declined to give a timetable when asked how long he would stay on but Klain did point to two ex-Dem chiefs of staff who stayed in the role less than 2 years 'It is a grinding job, there's no question about it. It takes a lot of stamina to do it. So we'll see how long it lasts,' Klain saidTuesday's report notes that Klain drew the anger of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who said he opposed Build Back Better partially because of Biden staffUnnamed Democrats accused Klain of unfairly giving Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal outsized influence in White House policy  Read more »

Tennis-Berrettini outlasts Monfils to set up Nadal clash in semis

© Reuters/MORGAN SETTE Australian Open By Sudipto Ganguly MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Seventh seed Matteo Berrettini found a higher gear in the face of a heroic fightback from France’s Gael Monfils ... Read more »

Nick Kyrgios escapes Australian Open disqualification despite hitting young boy with needless shot

© Provided by The Telegraph Nick Kyrgios and doubles partner Thanasi Kokkinakis and the young who was hit Nick Kyrgios flirted with disaster in his latest crowd-pleasing doubles victory alongside ... Read more »

British tennis legend thinks Emma Raducanu has the mental toughness to win more ‘big titles'

Tim Henman has long been one of Emma Raducanu’s biggest fans and the former British number one has now praised the US Open champion once again. Raducanu was competing in ... Read more »

Ex-Zimbabwe skipper opens up on 'paralysing fear' of being trapped in spot fixing ordeal

Ex-Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor has opened up on the ‘paralysing fear’ of being at the centre of a spot fixing saga. In late 2019 the batsman claimed he was approached ... Read more »

Novak Djokovic's new stance on Covid vaccine discussed after Australian Open saga

Novak Djokovic might strengthen his COVID-19 vaccine stance despite his Australian Open ordeal, according to long-term friend and former WTA star Flavia Pennetta. Djokovic, a vaccine sceptic, had his visa ... Read more »

Schweizerinnen weit zurück - Sara Hector mit viertem Weltcupsieg

© KEYSTONE/AP/Alessandro Trovati Das Swiss-Ski-Riesenslalom-Team kassiert in Kronplatz eine Schlappe. In Abwesenheit von Lara Gut-Behrami ist Andrea Ellenberger als 19. die beste Schweizerin. Den Sieg sichert sich Sara Hector. Die ... Read more »

‘Was a raw material': Hardik reserves special praise for Dhoni, reveals how ex-IND captain taught him to 'survive more'

© Provided by Hindustan Times Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni in 2019  (Getty/File Photo) Hardik Pandya has been out of action ever since India’s exit from the T20 World Cup ... Read more »

Met Police Detective, 40, who was jailed for three years after he posed as an airline pilot to secretly film up to 51 naked women, is dismissed from the force

Neil Corbel 'used anti-terror skills' to covertly film up to 51 naked womenHe was part of team involved with the London Bridge terror attack in June 2017Detective jailed for three years last week after admitting 19 counts of voyeurismVictims mentioned Sarah Everard case as they described their 'humiliation' Corbel resigned after conviction, but Met now say he would have been sacked Read more »

Michigan OKs $824M in incentives for GM's EV, battery plants

The Associated PressFILE- In this May 2, 2021, file photo, a General Motors sign hangs on the side of a Chevrolet showroom in Englewood, Colo. Michigan’s economic development board on ... Read more »

Review: Ryan Culwell leans into his Texas Panhandle roots

The Associated PressThis cover image released by Missing Piece Records shows “Run Like a Bull” by Ryan Culwell. (Missing Piece Records via AP) Ryan Culwell, “Run Like a Bull” (Missing ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic