March 31, 2023

Covid news: UK reports 43,992 cases and 54 deaths; protests in Brussels turn violent – as it happened

Hospitals already struggling to cope as they enter winter, says president of Royal College of...

Hospitals already struggling to cope as they enter winter, says president of Royal College of Emergency Medicine; people march in Brussels against latest restrictions

  • Omicron: what do we know about the new Covid variant?
  • Raab says ‘formal party’ in No 10 last Christmas would have broken rules
  • UK’s progress on Covid now squandered, warns top scientist
  • The latest challenge to Joe Biden’s presidency: the Omicron variant

The UK’s deputy prime minister Dominic Raab has defended the government’s decision to reintroduce pre-departure tests. He has told Sky News:

I know that is a burden for the travel industry but we have made huge, huge strides in this country. We have got to take the measures targeted forensically to stop the new variant seeding in this country to create a bigger problem.

We have taken a balanced approach but we are always alert to extra risk that takes us back not forward.

Well of course it was the Labour party who were calling for pre-testing to take place because we’re very concerned that the government consistently throughout the pandemic have been very late in making the calls that are required to keep our borders safe, very late in terms of trying to … control the spread of that virus. And what we want to do is to make sure that we don’t jeopardise the vaccination rollout.

The worst thing in the world after all the sacrifices that we’ve made is that a new variant comes in and completely takes the rug from under that programme. And so it’s very important the government get a grip, it’s very important the government takes swift action and frankly it shouldn’t be for the opposition to keep continually one step ahead of the government. The government needs to take control themselves.

Many flying home for their first Christmas since the pandemic began will be hit with scandalous testing costs. Unscrupulous private providers are pocketing millions, and leaving many families forced to shell out huge sums.

Ministers are sitting on their hands while people who want to do the right thing are paying the price for this broken market.

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