by Paul Sandel
LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday there was no need for new measures now in the United Kingdom to combat the micron variant, which has been “significantly milder” than previous forms of the coronavirus.
“The way forward for the country as a whole is to continue down the path we are already on,” Johnson said. “Of course we’ll keep some of the measures under review, but the combination of things we’re doing at the moment, I think, is absolutely correct.”
Despite the massive increase in infections, Johnson has so far resisted imposing new restrictions in England, which accounts for more than 80% of the UK population. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which control their own rules, have already imposed some new measures.
Johnson said the pressure on hospitals would be “significant” in the coming weeks, but Micron was “clearly lighter” than previous variables, and added that the country was in a stronger position than it was at the start of the pandemic.
The Prime Minister said the UK has a “very, very high level” of vaccinations, and the country continues to bolster its defenses with its booster dose programme.
“The majority of people in intensive care units have not been vaccinated and the vast majority – about 90% – have not received a booster dose,” Johnson said during a visit to a vaccination center in Buckinghamshire, southeast England.
Johnson imposed limited measures in England, known as “Plan B”, last month, including the mandatory use of face masks on public transport and in stores, but he did not impose restrictions on meetings or the closure of institutions.
The government announced on Sunday that older school-age children in England will need to wear protective masks when they return to school after the Christmas holidays.
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