What’s the expert advice to the governments?

The panel of experts united in the GEMS is recommending current corona measures are maintained, but homeworking five days a week should be the rule for those that can.  At present homeworking four days a week is mandatory. The consultative committee grouping the country’s governments that has the final say on corona measures meets on Thursday to examine the situation.

The GEMS is a group of experts managing the country’s exit strategy from the pandemic.  The panel says that in the light of the omicron surge relaxations should not be considered. It doesn’t believe a strict lockdown is necessary.

The panel acknowledges the present omicron surge and the pressure it could put on hospitals despite the booster programme.  The experts recommend maintaining present measures and stricter enforcement.

In precise terms the panel would like to see household mixing restricted to two or three households, the use of lateral flow tests ahead of visits and good ventilation.

Homeworking is highly recommended and for those that can work from home should be mandatory five days a week and not the current four.  New Year’s drinks parties should be avoided at all costs.

Passenger numbers on public transport should be no more than half total capacity, while the use of FFP2 masks is recommended for vulnerable people.

Current rules in hospitality should suffice.

The experts warn the reopening of schools could fuel a fifth wave if measures are not strictly followed.  Masking, good ventilation, testing and quarantine, greater use of lateral flow tests and a continued vaccination drive are recommended in primary and secondary schools.

The GEMS says the consultative committee should provide clear information and tell the population the next few weeks will be hard, and the situation will get worse before it gets better. The committee needs to emphasize the need for homeworking, masking, quarantine, greater use of lateral flow tests, the need to reduce private contacts and get the booster.

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