UK

DAN WOOTTON: We must stand up to our Omicron overlords or I fear our future as a free people

It started with a tight knot in the pit of my stomach that soon led to a feeling of overwhelming despair and ended up as a deep throbbing rage about what we’re all being put through again.

I’m sure many of you have felt that same mix of emotions these past 72-hours.

Much of it was sparked by the deja vu of a dreaded 5pm emergency Saturday evening press conference – like the one that saw the government unfathomably ‘cancel Christmas’ for millions of us last year thanks to Delta – where the fear and hysteria of a new Covid scariant was expertly whipped up.

But this time Boris Johnson, Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance were not the Three Wise Men, they were the Three Clueless Blokes.

None of them has any idea if the Omicron variant is more transmissible or – crucially – if it evades the vaccines.

In fact, so far there is no evidence of pretty much anything at all.

The South African scientists who had discovered the thing in the first place warned we were chronically overreacting, rather than waiting for evidence. 

But who cares!

In the hysterical new world where only Covid matters, it was full steam ahead with a raft of new restrictions.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance during a media briefing in Downing Street on Saturday

Travel bans are back (including for South Africa as some sort of bizarre punishment for using their brilliant science to warn the world).

So too are mask mandates on public transport and in retail settings, ten day self-isolation for Omicron contacts and compulsory day two PCR testing for all travellers, including home isolation while awaiting results.

Even then, the BBC, ITV and Sky News didn’t think Boris and the doomsday duo had gone anywhere near far enough.

Such a hysterical overreaction to a scariant before waiting for the facts has been my worst nightmare come true.

All the warnings folk like me have been making for the past 20 months are coming to fruition: The mad scientists are in control and, if we continue to allow them to act like this, a return to normal is no longer achievable.

In fact, I’m beginning to doubt if the normality I so desperately crave – a world where we make sensible decisions for ourselves, weighing up all the usual risk factors like we do every single day – will ever return.

We have a population with over 80 per cent of adults double-jabbed, a further 25 per cent triple-jabbed and over 90 per cent with Covid antibodies thanks to that brilliant old scientific reality called natural immunity.

Dan Wootton (pictured) says he is feeling a 'deep throbbing rage about about what we¿re all being put through again' with the Omicron variant

Dan Wootton (pictured) says he is feeling a ‘deep throbbing rage about about what we’re all being put through again’ with the Omicron variant

Covid-19 now has a 0.27 per cent fatality rate in the UK – and we have so many ways to treat it that we couldn’t imagine in March 2020. 

So why are we accepting of this?

And why does the government think they have the right to railroad usual democratic processes in the name of public health, without the appropriate evidence to back it all up?

The new rules dictating how we live our day-to-day lives will come into effect at 4am tomorrow morning, without any vote in Parliament. In fact, it could be 28 days before MPs are allowed to debate the measures.

What have we become? The Chinese communist government would be proud.

Of course, it’s those groups already left battered, bruised and bloodied by 20 months of restrictions that will be worst impacted again.

Like the near-dead British tourism and travel industry, which finally saw some light at the end of a very dark tunnel but now finds itself sacrificed to appease the craven media demanding restrictions.

When will the isolationists get it through their thick heads that closed borders is NOT an answer to anything at all.

Viruses must be dealt with internationally; even the most paranoid experts admit that completely shutting off the UK would only have temporarily delayed the arrival of any major new variant into the country.

Look at Australia and New Zealand which have locked out the world for nearly two years but still had to deal with some of the toughest and longest lockdowns anywhere when Delta inevitably snuck in. You can’t keep out a virus – the ‘rona doesn’t respect national borders.

The World Health Organisation is right to criticise the UK, US and Europe for imposing travel restrictions on southern African states and to call for borders to remain open so countries that discover new variants don’t try to hide them like China did right at the start of this almighty mess.

England has added ten southern African countries to their red list and will require all arrivals to do a day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they have got a negative result. Pictured: Passengers queue for check in at Heathrow Airport

England has added ten southern African countries to their red list and will require all arrivals to do a day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they have got a negative result. Pictured: Passengers queue for check in at Heathrow Airport

But they were completely wrong to refuse to name the new variant Xi for fear of upsetting the authoritarian Chinese leader.

In my opinion, every single variant should be named after Xi Jinping whose brazen and unforgiveable cover-up of the Covid pandemic is one of the most significant in history and makes Chernobyl look like a petty crime.

Then there are our poor children and teenagers – the group least personally impacted by Covid who keep getting it in the neck.

The government slipped out an announcement that secondary school students will be told to wear masks in all communal spaces from today as they sit in ice cold classrooms with the windows kept wide open in freezing temperatures.

Predictably, the out-of-control teachers unions are already lobbying for the return of facemasks in classrooms too and dastardly bubbles that have already cost our kids week upon week of their education.

Some schools have already taken it upon themselves to ban parents from attending Christmas nativities.

Meanwhile, last night the Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi attended the National Teachers Awards where hundreds of adults packed into a non-ventilated room without a mask in sight.

The cruel hypocrisy is off the scale.

If nothing else, after everything we’ve already put them through, please God let our kids and teenagers get on with living a normal, unmuzzled life.

People wear face covering as they travel on the Underground, in London, on Sunday after Boris Johnson said it was necessary to take 'targeted and precautionary measures' after two people tested positive for the new variant in England

People wear face covering as they travel on the Underground, in London, on Sunday after Boris Johnson said it was necessary to take ‘targeted and precautionary measures’ after two people tested positive for the new variant in England

It will also need to be explained to me how offering teens a second Covid jab and opening up the booster programme to all under-40s is a solution to Omicron.

Isn’t all the confected hysteria a result of fears this new form of the virus might evade the jabs?

I’m all for the Covid vaccines by the way, personally. But I’m viciously opposed to the concept of mandating jabs and the type of health apartheid that is creeping across Europe.

It’s time we accept that viruses mutate and the arrival of a nasty variants every few months is an inevitability, without turning our lives upside down, causing global stock markets to crash and the mental health of millions to spiral.

The government must give us the facts the moment they have them, without any hysteria, and then allow us to make sensible decisions about what level of risk we’re prepared to take based on our own health profile.

If we cannot open the country and restore all our civil liberties 20 months into this pandemic, then I fear we never will.

If we keep compliantly allowing our freedoms to be stripped on the whim of a poll-driven government, then don’t be surprised if they never fully return.

A dystopian nightmare looms and it’s time to speak up and stand up.


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