Omicron: Daisy Cooper says emergency plan needed within 72 hours

There is a lot to be learnt about Omicron. We know it is spreading fast. Faster than the dominant variant Delta. We don’t yet know its health impacts, the risks of those with one, two or three doses of vaccine getting Covid-19. We don’t yet know the health impacts of Omicron, the extent it will increase hospitalisation, lead to long term health consequences and deaths.

It is very early days on Omicron. The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine study that triggered today’s media statement by Daisy Cooper has yet to be peer reviewed. But if there is a single lesson from this epidemic, is that earlier planning and earlier action can improve health outcomes and save lives. That is why she is calling for Boris Johnson’s government to set out its emergency plans to Parliament in the next 72 hours.

Responding today to new analysis of the danger posed by the Omicron variant, Lib Dem Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

This new modelling shows the real danger posed by the Omicron variant, with 25,000 people or more dying if we get this wrong.

With both Ambulance and A&E services already stretched to breaking point, we cannot afford another huge surge in hospitalisations.

The Government must act quickly and set out its emergency plans to Parliament in the next 72 hours.

It must urgently ramp up the booster programme, give frontline NHS staff the additional resources they need, guarantee financial protections for small businesses, particularly in hospitality, and ensure that everyone who needs it can access mental health support during these difficult times.

In a media release published today reporting on research that is not yet peer reviewed, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said:

New modelling… suggests the Omicron variant has the potential to cause a wave of transmission in England that could lead to higher levels of cases and hospitalisations than those seen during January 2021, if additional control measures are not taken…

Under the most optimistic scenario (low immune escape of Omicron and high effectiveness of boosters), a wave of infection is projected which could lead to a peak of over 2,000 daily hospital admissions, with 175,000… hospitalisations and 24,700… deaths between 1st December 2021 and 30th April 2022, if no additional control measures are implemented over and above the current ‘Plan B’ policy in England.

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Considering the news that has been coming out over the last 24 hrs, I am appalled at the lack of communication to the public from those at the top in Government….At least Nicola Sturgeon has the decency to address the Scottish Public and what does England have???? A grainy video from Michael Gove. Ok the PM has just had another child and is on paternity leave, but is he not capable of a video address from his Downing Street Flat?
    Dominic Rabb is in Isolation…. But where is the health secretary?? This is his brief and his responsibility and he should be speaking to the public, however, no doubt he is still licking his wounds from the cried of resign from his own backbenchers who are raging that he is transformed on the wind from a Hawk to a Dove…..
    This simply is not good enough and the public need and deserve better..

    With reports that 2 shots of AZ vaccine gives virtually no protection from Omicron, but as yet unknown if it can still prevent “serious” infection and considering the vast Majority of elderly and vulnerable people and residents in care homes were given the shot…How many are still awaiting for the vital Pfizer / Moderna Booster??? How long will it take to get to them and will they be prioritised for Jabs…
    With Millions of people now able to use the online and 119 Booking system but people not able to get appointments for weeks and weeks ahead, how do we prioritise the most urgent and vulnerable??

    There are many vulnerable people who are housebound and are not able to get to clinics for Jabs and needing boosting at home, what more is being done to prioritise them?

    What guidance should we be given clinically vulnerable people, considering this new variant. Far to many unfortunately think that if the Government is silent then they must be safe and well protected.

    Governments need to ask supermarkets to bring back priority slots for the clinically vulnerable.

    We need to start doing more to hold this Government to account….Its no good waiting to see what the Government says it would do and then complain we would go further, we need to be setting out now what we would be doing NOW if we were in government.

  • Re: AZ vaccine – two doses may not prevent against infection but surely it prevents against severe disease?

    A lot of reports don’t clearly distinguish on this point when they say “protection”. AZ + Booster should provide 70% protection:

    One thing we do know about Omicron however is that the scientist who discovered it thinks it’s mild and the world is overreacting:

  • David Evershed 12th Dec '21 - 2:35am

    As with any modelling it all depends on the assumptions used, more so than the model in this case.

    Remember – Garbage In, Garbage Out.

  • Urgent questions need to be asked about the booking system for Boosters.
    It is a shambles. Whilst the Government and front line NHS workers and volunteers have done an amazing job delivering vaccines, as usual anything to do with administration and IT is a Nightmare.

    Now that Boosters are being opened up to over 30’s tomorrow, we still have Millions of over 50’s and clinically vulnerable who are most vulnerable as yet to receive a Booster and are now competing with Millions of others….They need to be prioritised…

    What is more alarming and this happened to my partner when he became eligible to book his booster, we just assumed that the system would not allow you to book before your due date which at that time policy was 6 months and 1 week… My partner booked the first available appointment offered to him online, turned up at the vaccination clinic, and low and behold it was 2 days before his due date and the person administering jab was not able to do it as the system would not let her and there was no way to override the system….the Nurse shouted out to her colleagues “another faulty booking to add to the list” obviously and rightly frustrated as she said they were having to turn away so many people who this was happening too, but it was a wasted appointment that could have gone to someone else… My partner had to return 2 days later to a walk in appointment….

    Has this been fixed??? Urgent questions need to be asked of the Government….Whilst it is annoying what the Government did flouting the rules last xmas and they need to be held to account for, Journalists and opposition parties are not doing their job by asking these important questions and instead just over obsessing over the xmas parties to score political points…

  • @ Marco, you write, “One thing we do know about Omicron however is that the scientist who discovered it thinks it’s mild and the world is overreacting”.

    Dr Angelique Coetzee is a physician not a scientist and she did not say that. Yours is a highly irresponsible attempt to misquote her by adding the phrase “the world is overreacting”. It is spin to justify your position as a corona sceptic.

    According to the BBC report, what Dr Coatzee actually said was, “the patients seen so far have had ‘extremely mild symptoms’, but more time is needed before we know the seriousness of the disease for vulnerable people.” Very different to your spin.

  • @ David Raw

    If you watch the video at about 1:25 Marr asks her if she thinks “we’re all overreacting” and she says “yes I think you have already”.

    I agree she is a Physician although technically that is a type of scientist.

    So I disagree with your comments and if anything I am a “corona centrist” in the overall scheme of things.

  • @Marco – re: “overreacting”
    You are missing the context, at the time of the interview the UK, US et al responded by imposing restrictions on air travel (the main method by which CoViD has covered the world) from S.Africa. Given how little was known about Omicron back then the approach adopted by the UK government would seem to be prudent, obviously as we get to know more travel restrictions can be reviewed…

    I also think there is some confusion that is giving rise to complacency. Whilst the symptoms can be mild, it doesn’t mean the damage it can do to a body is also mild – it isn’t “just a cold” and attempts to “carry on as usual” are highly likely to slow recovery and lead to complications. Also with mild symptoms, people are less likely to associate their ‘cold’ symptoms with CoViD and so get tested and hence “carry on as usual” and infect those they come into contact with…

  • @ Roland

    The travel restrictions will have had a negative effect on the African economy, pushing more people into food poverty. This is what we mean by overreacting. There is always this focus purely on COVID whilst ignoring other issues.

    I don’t want to see complacency either – complacency about increased poverty and hunger in Africa and the developing world generally due to rich countries COVID policies.

  • @Marco – “The travel restrictions will have had a negative effect on the African economy”
    Well CoViD rampaging through a country will have a negative effect on the economy…

    However, it was good the impact of travel restrictions was raised on African and by implication poorer economies; unfortunately, it seemed no one was wanting to further discuss the economic aid implications. So whilst we in the UK have benefited from government schemes there is no international scheme, so that poorer countries (where we expect the new CoViD variants to arise), don’t get disproportionally disadvantaged by travel restrictions.

  • Peter Martin 15th Dec '21 - 4:50am

    Daisy got her wish. We had the plan in a lot less than 72 hours. But when it came to a vote in parliament the Lib Dems sided with the right wing Tory rebels!

    Just what kind of plan would the Lib dems have supported?

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