Government must act to restore confidence

The government must move quickly to restore confidence amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19), says the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The business group has identified a series of actions to be taken immediately by the government and in the future to ensure the UK is well-equipped to deal with variants of concern.

While businesses are keen to see a roadmap out of ‘plan B’ in January, should further restrictions be required to protect public health, firms will want the maximum amount of time to prepare and adapt.

The business group recommends:

  • forward guidance to support business adaptation
  • prioritising mass-testing over mass self-isolation and working from home
  • utilising all ‘COVID secure’ tools available to build employee and customer confidence
  • maximising the vaccine and anti-viral programmes
  • proportionate border controls so the UK remains open to the world
  • support in order to move in lockstep with restrictions.

Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist at the CBI, said: ‘The onset of Omicron means many businesses seeking to get back on their feet are once again reeling from the virus for a second Christmas in a row. Now the government must act at speed to prevent the need for further restrictions.’

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