BoJo Unveils “Plan B” Restrictions To Fight Omicron As New Cases Double Every 2-3 Days
Since the start of the pandemic, we have cautioned readers to look past what political leaders are saying about lockdowns and vaccine mandates intended to “keep us safe”, and focus more on ulterior motives, like pushing the Fed to monetize mountains of debt to keep the market-sustaining money tap open. Like with every other major decision, it’s important to ask oneself: Cui bono – who benefits?
With that in mind, UK PM Boris Johnson is facing bitter criticism from Britons after he allegedly rushed the announcement of England’s “Plan B” – BoJo’s more restrictive version of President Biden’s “winter plan” – allegedly to try and distract from a national scandal caused by leaked footage of a 10 Downing Street Christmas Party held last winter, when holiday parties were expressly forbidden by COVID lockdown rules.
The FT, which broke the news of BoJo’s “Plan B” plans, described the impending announcement as a “dead cat” – that is, something done to draw attention away from a much bigger scandal.
One said the move to Plan B — much earlier than expected — was a “dead cat” move by Johnson to distract attention from the furore over a leaked video of a mock Downing Street press conference showing staff laughing about the party, which breached Covid-19 rules.
The new restrictions – intended to try and stop the spread of omicron – are expected to be announced at a press conference as early as Wednesday, with the new measures put before parliament on Thursday.
Still, according to the UK’s top COVID scientists, the new lockdowns couldn’t come soon enough, as cases of the omicron variant are believed to be doubling “every two to three days.” Neil Ferguson, one of the UK’s leading coronavirus experts, warned on Wednesday that if no further measures were introduced, the peak of the current wave of infection would likely arrive in January, and that new infections caused by omicron could potentially overtake delta by Christmas. Whether that actually happens remains to be seen.
But word of BoJo’s rush to impose “Plan B” in England has rattled markets in the UK by stoking fears that more omicron lockdowns would be announced in the UK, and elsewhere in Europe. The plan includes requiring vaccine passports to enter large buildings, along with an order to work from home.
British travel and leisure stocks tumbled Wednesday on the news, with Wizz, EasyJet, IAG all down about 4%. Restaurant Group dropped as much as 6.2%, while Cineworld shed 5.6%; the two companies were the worst performers on the All-Shares Index. Gilts, the UK’s government bonds, rallied on the news, sending yields down 3 basis points to outperform German bunds. It’s expected that “Plan B” will extend requirements for vaccine passports for travelers, and potentially cause up to £18 billion ($23.75 billion) in economic damage, according to documents seen by the Guardian.
In the face of a national uproar caused by the Christmas Party revelations, UK health secretary Sajid Javid pulled out of a number of national broadcast interviews that had been scheduled for Wednesday after a video showing BoJo’s top aides holding a mock press conference where they joked about the Christmas Party (which they later denied happened).
Javid had been expected to discuss the UK’s vaccination efforts on the BBC and Sky News, as well as a number of radio stations, delivering an update on the one-year anniversary of the first jab being given in Britain.
Adding to the sting from the news of the Downing Street Christmas Party, ITV also published this video from a mock press conference featuring staffers joking about the Christmas Party, which they later denied happened.
It’s an early Christmas present for the opposition…and any European leaders who are tired of BoJo’s brusque negotiating style.
Wed, 12/08/2021 – 07:00
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