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UK Fears NHS Could Be Stressed, Italy Imposes New Restrictions

As Omicron variant continues to spur record levels of infection in the UK and Europe, UK PM Boris Johnson asked private healthcare firms on Monday to help the National Health Service (NHS) to deliver crucial treatments such as cancer surgery in case Omicron stresses the NHS, according to a report by Reuters.

Though the death rates in the UK following the outbreak caused by the Omicron variant is comparatively lower than previous waves, the UK government is concerned that infections caused by the variant could stress the NHS. The NHS has been directed to sign a 3-month deal with private health companies to allow people to get treatments such as cancer surgery outside. One of those private companies, Circle Health Group, has assured the UK government that it will support the NHS in case it is overwhelmed by hospitalizations and staff shortages.

The UK reported 141,472 new cases on Sunday along with 92 fresh fatalities. Its death toll has surpassed 150,000.

New rules in Italy

Italy on Monday announced that it will bar the unvaccinated from entering restaurants or taking domestic flights, according to a report by the AFP. Italy reported close to 155,000 new cases on Sunday. The Italian government also reopened schools on Monday – a move which virologists and scientists in the nation termed ‘imprudent’.

“The virus is in an exponential phase. The reopening of schools will bring additional stress, and I fear the number of infections will grow at least until the end of January,” renowned Italian virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.

‘Dirty vaccination’

German health minister Karl Lauterbach insisted on vaccine mandates and said that vaccine mandates can only ensure the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. Lauterbach also said that immunity gained after infection is ‘dirty vaccination’ and should not be seen as a solution.

“We need a vaccine mandate. Omicron is a dirty vaccination through the backdoor. Counting on everyone getting infected sooner or later and becoming immune would cause big problems,” Lauterbach was quoted as saying by German news agency Die Welt. He urged that such experiments will impact children adversely. He also said that more virulent strains after Omicron will appear.

Germany recorded 30,812 new cases on Sunday which took its Covid-19 tally to above 7,500,000.

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