LONDON (AP) – In the UK, tougher restrictions on the coronavirus went into effect on Friday as government officials faced new allegations that they had violated the rules they imposed on the public last Christmas.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced measures this week to slow the spread of the new omicron virus variant, with face masks becoming more mandatory in closed public places in the UK. Starting next week, vaccination tickets will be needed for nightclubs and major events, and residents will be told to work from home if possible.
The emergence of the rapidly spreading omicron in Britain has shaken the government’s hopes that the vaccine will be enough to keep the virus under control. British scientists and officials say the omicron spreads faster than the currently dominant delta variant and is more resistant than current vaccines. It is not yet clear whether this will lead to more or less severe cases with COVID-19.
In addition to the new restrictions, the British government is offering a third dose of the vaccine to slow the spread of the virus to all people over the age of 18.
The return of the restrictions is unwelcome to many, and the revelation of clear irregularities by government officials during last winter’s severe blockades has fueled resistance to the new measures.
The government has asked the UK’s top civil servant to investigate a number of meetings, including an event held on December 18, 2020 at the Prime Minister’s 10 offices in Downing St., where employees were drinking wine at the same time. enjoyed the exchange of food, games and holiday gifts. when pandemic rules prohibit most social gatherings.
On Friday, many media outlets reported that one of Johnson’s top advisers, Communications Director Jack Doyle, attended the Dec. 18 reception and presented awards to employees. At the time, he was deputy director of communications.
In his current role, Doyle has led the government’s public statements about party allegations. For several days, Johnson’s office denied that a banquet had taken place, noting that the rules were always followed.
The video, which revealed the allegations, showed senior officials joking about the alleged party. The top official in the video, Allegra Stratton, apologized on Wednesday and resigned.
“It’s been a difficult week for the government,” UK Small Business Minister Paul Scully said on Friday, adding that the investigation should “reach the bottom” of the allegations.
“We want to see for sure that no rules have been broken, it was a guarantee to the prime minister and I have heard of it,” Scully told the BBC. “I wasn’t there. I do not know.”
The Christmas party allegations are the latest in a series of allegations of misconduct and misconduct by Johnson and government officials. On Thursday, Britain’s election watchdog fined the Prime Minister’s Conservative Party £ 17,800 ($ 23,500) for failing to keep proper records of donor money used to renovate Johnson’s official residence.
Wes Street, a health spokesman for the opposition Labor Party, said the flow of claims had eroded confidence in the government during the health crisis.
Striting accused Johnson of saying, “It’s his insecure nature, his disorder and dishonesty that undermines his confidence in these health measures.”
“Boris Johnson’s character and behavior are starting to disrupt a number of things: the system of standards in parliament, the application of laws in the country, and most importantly, can the government deliver a health message at a critical time?” Striting said.
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