‘We’re setting the benchmark!’ Minister in sly dig at Europe lockdowns as UK secures doses

UK vaccine rollout ‘setting the benchmark’ says Freeman

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

George Freeman appeared on Sky News to give an update on the vaccine programme and heralded the UK’s “leadership” on tackling the coronavirus pandemic. The science minister promoted the UK’s global contribution to tackling the virus, through COVAX and other programmes, and said the Government was “setting the benchmark” for others to follow. Mr Freeman then turned his attention to Europe which is seeing much tougher restrictions being put in place and said the UK’s handling of the pandemic meant it did not need to carry out the extremely unpopular curbs.

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Freeman was asked what was “the plan” by host Kay Burley with regards to the booster programme.

He replied: “Today we’ve got all of the global pharma leaders here in London to announce another half a billion pound package into UK life science.

“And as your report highlights, this pandemic isn’t over and the UK is leading in both the science of defeating this virus and in the rollout package for vaccines here in the UK.

“We’ve procured another 114 million doses so we’ve got the doses here for patients over the next few months.

“And we’re in a global race to make sure we defeat this pandemic.”

Ms Burley wanted to steer Mr Freeman back onto her question and asked again what was the plan for the pandemic.

He replied: “The truth is, we’re not safe until the world is safe and the UK has led that charge.

“We’ve invested more per capita than any other nation, we’re huge supporters of COVAX and at the g7 summit this summer, we led the charge on how globally we support international rollout here in the UK.

Omicron: Commuters have their say over coronavirus measures

“Our vaccine rollout programme is setting the benchmark and that’s why we’re able this year to not impose the very tough, quite draconian regulations we had to last year in a way that other countries are.

“So this is UK science leadership and NHS leadership and the vaccine rollout programme leading here in the UK in terms of science but also allowing our citizens to enjoy fewer restrictions than in other countries.”

The Government revealed it has signed contracts to buy 114 million more Covid vaccines for the next two years as Omicron variants increase.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the deal with “buy time” to deal with the new variant with 60 million Moderna and 54 Pfizer jabs purchased.

At least 32 cases of the Omicron variant has been found in the UK as the Government ramps up restrictions to curb its spread.

On Tuesday, it was announced masks would be required in shops and public transport which would be enforced by a £200 fine.

Hospitality venues have been made exempt from the rules.

However, many large shops, such as Co-op, Iceland, Aldi and others, have said they would not enforce the rules to protect their staff from abuse.

The Government is also rolling out its booster programme to the majority of the country with ministers being accused of delivering mixed messaging.

Health Minister Gillian Keegan told Good Morning Britain that people should wait to be contacted before booking their shots.

But government officials have been criticised as the NHS booking portal for jabs is up but not for the booster jabs.

GMB presenter Susanna Reid pointed out many people would be thinking they could book their appointments now considering the urgency of the Government’s messaging.

Protests across Europe broke out last month after several countries introduced harsh restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus.

In Austria, unvaccinated people have been put into a lockdown where they are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons.

Protests broke out in Belgium with water cannons and riot police after vaccine passports were implemented.

Source: Read Full Article