Omicron: David Davis says government should have acted sooner

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David Davis appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme to discuss the upcoming Commons vote on mask and coronavirus certification rules which are expected to see a strong rebellion among Conservatives. Mr Davis claimed mask mandates were not required as current rules meant he saw nearly “100 percent” of people already wear them for indoor venues and argued vaccine passports in European countries were not working. But Radio 4 listeners slammed the former Brexit Secretary for his views and appeared angry he was not sufficiently challenged.

Many took to Twitter to attack Mr Davis for his views with Labour and Co-operative MP for Huddersfield, Barry Sheerman, confused over his statements on masks.

In the interview, Mr Davis claimed he would be voting against the mask requirements in all indoor venues because most people are already wearing masks anyway.

The vote, scheduled for Tuesday in the House of Commons, will see mandatory mask-wearing extended to public venues such as cinemas, theatres, and other places with a separate vote on Covid certification later that day.

Mr Davis remarked: “I shall vote against the mask requirement, I think, frankly, most of the public are wearing masks anyway.

“My own journey to the north and south suddenly changed at the beginning of last week and it went to around 30 percent of people wearing masks on the tube and train to nearly 100 percent.”

Coronavirus latest news headlines on December 11th

Mr Sheerman wrote: “Where has this Tory been where he has seen 100 percent mask-wearing?”

Later on, Mr Davis explained his issue with the vaccine passport which will be introduced to attend large events and gatherings.

Mr Davis explained his opposition to the passport and said it was an “illiberal” requirement as he suggested people in the UK have not been asked to document their medical status.

He also claimed the passport simply “won’t work” as he says its use in France and Germany has shown evidence which “doesn’t stand up”.

In July, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the “Pass Sanitaire” which would restrict people from entering certain public venues and travel depending on their vaccination status.

Mandatory vaccinations were also introduced for medical workers or those dealing with vulnerable people.

Despite the huge outcry and subsequent protests, nearly four million vaccine appointments were booked in the week following the announcement which greatly increased the ailing vaccination rate of France.

According to Reuters, 71.3 percent of the French population have been double jabbed compared to the UK’s 69.9 percent.

Host Justin Webb challenged Mr Davis on the point to which he simply replied there was “not much evidence of that”.

@Starbie99 wrote on Twitter: “These claims by David Davis, are they substantiated by evidence?”

Metro newspaper deputy news editor, Joel Taylor added: “Just the message the govt wants this morning, David Davis on #r4today downplaying the effectiveness of vaccines at preventing the virus spreading from oneself to loved ones.”

Mr Sheerman continued to tweet against the former Brexit Secretary and said: “Oh it’s David Davies again on his own with no one tackling his views!”

Mr Davis also suggested the introduction of a vaccine passport could make the pandemic worse.

He claimed individual behaviours could change because those with the certificate may not come forward for boosters since they believe they are safe under the documentation and might be looser with things like social distancing.

@Southyorkssmog commented: “#r4today can someone remind me of David Davis’s qualifications in airborne diseases?”

Mr Davis echoed his previous comments made on ITV’s Peston where he again claimed vaccine passports would only cut the risk of infection by half.

He told the programme: “There is a 90 percent reduction in hospitalization risks, 90 something reduction in death risks. But it only cuts the risk of infection by about half.

“So there is a real danger that you give people vaccine certificates and they then sort of think they are safe now.

“But actually they are not, they are not.

“And 5,000 people go to a sort of event and some of them will be infectious. So, you are doing something which could absolutely backfire.”

In response to the rising cases of the Omicron variant, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new rules would be put in place to try and curb its spread.

Mask-wearing will now be extended to nearly all indoor venues and coronavirus certification will be needed for large gatherings such as stadiums or clubs.

However, Health Secretary Sajid Javid was unable to tell media channels on Monday morning how serious the Omicron spread was after being repeatedly challenged on how many people have died from the variant.

Mr Javid revealed around 10 people were in hospital with the Omicron variant and stressed the draconian measures are to act early to prevent the problem from spiralling out of control.

The Tory frontbencher also stressed to BBC’s Dan Walker and Sky News’s Kay Burley that if the Government had not taken the strong stance against the variant, he would be rightly held accountable by them for not acting quick enough.

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