Tuesday, August 9

COVID: Omicron ‘tidal wave’ prompts UK to urge unemployed teachers to return to classrooms

The UK has urged unemployed teachers to return to classrooms amid Omicron-induced staffing shortages in the new year.

Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi made the “urgent call” in a video message posted on Twitter Monday morning that the government’s priority is “to provide face-to-face education safely.”

“Although 99.9% of schools have been consistently open this quarter, we can all see the Omicron tsunami looming. That is why today I ask any teacher who is no longer in the profession to come forward if is available to temporarily fill school and college absences in the New Year. “

“Whether you have recently retired or trained as a teacher and changed careers, I urge you to consider whether you could dedicate even one day a week to reinforcing the number of supply personnel across the country,” he added.

Britain recorded 82,886 new confirmed infections on Sunday, bringing the number of new cases recorded last week to more than 547,600, 51.6% more than the number seen during the previous seven-day period.

The number of confirmed Omicron cases has now reached more than 37,100 after an increase of 22,192 over the weekend and authorities expect Omicron cases to double every 2.5 to three days.

London declared a “major incident” over the weekend due to the Omicron spread.

The government is aiming to administer a million booster doses by the end of the month as part of its strategy against the new variant of concern and is urging people to limit social interactions during the holiday period.

Measures implemented in the past two weeks include a stricter face-covering mandate, tips for working from home, and the introduction of a COVID pass to access nightclubs and large events.

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The UK is among the most vaccinated countries in the world, with 81.7% of people over the age of 12 having received two doses of the vaccines. Almost 49% of them have also received a booster shot.

Vaccination is not yet open to children ages 5 to 11.

High school staff and students are required to wear face covers and are currently strongly encouraged to do a bi-weekly rapid test at home for asymptomatic COVID-19 cases. People with symptoms should have a PCR test.

Anyone who tests positive must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.

Fully vaccinated contacts of people who test positive are no longer required to self-isolate immediately, although they are strongly encouraged to take a rapid test every day for seven days and to self-isolate if positive.

This was amended after this summer’s so-called “ping-demic” that resulted in the disruption of staff and food supplies as millions, including fully vaccinated workers, were forced to self-isolate after a contact tested positive.

According to the National Education Union (NEU), education workers are “26% more likely to have COVID-19 than the general population because cases are higher among school-age children.”

The union has asked the government to introduce additional “mitigations” due to Omicron, including investment in air filtration devices, staggered break times to minimize mixing between classes and year groups, and a change in the self-isolation mandate.

He wants parents to keep their siblings and other COVID-19 household contacts at home until a negative PCR test has been received, rather than the advice to do a rapid test for a week, whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

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