Right, ladies and gentlemen, we need to get Britain moving again. New Year, New Us! Well, old us, actually.
Plucky Britain, the nation that doesn’t turn and run, the nation that doesn’t cower away, the nation that doesn’t grind to a halt.
Boris Johnson may not have announced any further restrictions yesterday evening, but there is a pseudo-lockdown going on.
We need a change to our isolation rules because it’s crippling this country, right across the board.
It’s winter of discontent territory this - councils up and down the country have cancelled refuse collections because so many staff are isolating.
We’ve got rubbish piling up, Christmas trees lining the streets.
Local bus routes are being reduced, hitting people in rural areas the hardest.
There aren’t enough people to drive our trains.
Our supermarkets are taking a hit - Iceland has reported it now has 1,000 more staff isolating than it did a week ago.
It’s impacting HGV drivers as well so there are supply chain issues.But, the main area that’s being crippled is our health service.
One in ten NHS employees were not in hospitals on New Year's Eve due to illness, according to official figures - but less than half had coronavirus, amounting to fewer than 50,000 of the 110,000 not in work.And here in lies the issue, doesn’t it.
People just get sick. People get other illnesses, especially at this time of year.
And we’ve now got the double whammy of people isolating for 10 days, coupled with the others who are just off with a cold as well.
And it’s unsustainable, in fact, it’s deadly.
We’ve got several hospital trusts declaring critical incidents - University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals and Great Western Hospitals in Wiltshire have all been hit hard.
Derriford hospital in Plymouth has problems offloading ambulances, and has recorded nearly 500 staff absences.
This lengthy period of isolating in killing us.
And we have to be realistic now about what it is we’re isolating from.
We were told to expect between 3,000 and 5,000 Covid deaths a day right now.
Well, apparently there were 48 recorded Omicron deaths yesterday, obviously any death is a tragedy, don’t get me wrong.
We have 797 people on ventilators with Covid today, that’s fewer than two months ago when cases were much lower.
Apparently 1,881 people were admitted to hospital with Covid in England yesterday, down from 2,370 on December 29th.
The latest research by the UK Health Security Agency suggests that people with Omicron are between 50 to 70% less likely to need hospital treatment.
And, here’s the kicker, almost half of people admitted to hospital in London last week, the Omicron capital, were there with covid, not FOR covid.
Right, so, we are on the march, people. We’re on the move.
Yet if you look around, the country’s key services are grinding to a halt.
Economic experts are claiming that cutting the isolation period to five days would save the UK economy £300million this month while the Centre for Economics and Business Research estimated that the current rules will cost the country £1 billion, equal to 0.5 per cent of monthly GDP.
This is at a time when one in four of us are reporting that their cost of living is unmanageable.
People are having to choose whether or not to eat or heat. And that’s not good enough.The five day rule is backed by some medics, who say you’re at your most contagious two days before testing positive, and then two days after.
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s have a national New Year’s resolution - let’s get Britain moving.