OPINION - New hope London is winning the war on Omicron

·2-min read
 (West End Final)
(West End Final)

‘Learning to live with Covid’. You’ve probably heard the phrase before and get ready to hear it a whole lot more.

Michael Gove, one of the more cautious cabinet ministers when it has come to lifting restrictions throughout the pandemic, today acknowledged that Britain is moving to a stage where it can “live with Covid” and that while the easing of restrictions would have to be guided by science, “the sooner the better”.

(As a second Monday in January treat, here’s Gove stuck in a lift for half an hour this morning. It’s not as funny as this footage of him falling over, but then what could be?)

All the noises from the Government suggest this is the firm direction of travel. How related it is to the science and how much to Tory backbenchers essentially refusing to countenance any further non-pharmaceutical interventions is a matter for debate.

From suggestions that the self-isolation period will be cut again from seven to five days to the impending end of free lateral flow tests, the Government is rolling the pitch for a new phase of Covid – endemicity.

The data in London is certainly looking better. As our Political Editor Nicholas Cecil reports, the latest infection figures give further weight to the Omicron wave having peaked in London – as suggested in the Standard last Tuesday.

Crucially, the seven-day infection rate for Londoners aged 60 and over, who are more vulnerable to the virus than younger age groups, may now be falling.

The situation is not the same everywhere. London has a younger population than the rest of the country and a high level of prior infection, two major advantages in the battle against Omicron.

Yet given we have known for some time that eradicating Covid is impossible, living with it seems a reasonable second prize.

As we write in today’s leader, that must mean living well with it. A far trickier endeavour. But it seems pretty clear that, barring some horrific new variant, the era of lockdowns (or anything like it) is over.

Elsewhere in the paper, what’s going on with Generation Resignation? Millennials are leaving their jobs to pursue their passions — and companies face a fight to keep them. Kate Wills meets the people calling it quits.

In the comment pages, Jeremy Corbyn wants his own party – good luck to him, writes Philip Collins.

Meanwhile, City Editor Oscar Williams-Grut rather courageously defends – to an extent – property developers over the cladding scandal, arguing they aren’t all pantomime villains.

And finally, London is set to shake things up once again. Reveller Editor David Ellis brings you the capital’s best new cocktail bars of 2022, from Nightjar 2.0 to Mr Lyan’s latest.

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