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Boris Johnson rejects Drakeford and Sturgeon request for meeting to discuss new Omicron variant

29 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) in yesterday’s speech broadcast on BBC One. Mark Drakeford (right), picture by the Welsh Government.

Boris Johnson has rejected a request by Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon for a Cobra meeting to discuss the new Omicron variant.

The First Ministers of Wales and Scotland had written to the Prime Minister demanding he take action to tackle the spread of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The letter asks that an urgent Cobra meeting be held so the latest scientific information is shared with the autonomous governments.

But No 10 has now rebuffed that request, telling PA that they would “confirm any plans for a cobra meeting in the normal way. Currently, there isn’t one scheduled.

“We obviously speak to our devolved administration counterparts very regularly and we will continue to coordinate our response with them.”

‘Collective’

Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon made a number of other demands, including:

  • The introduction of much tighter restrictions on international travel
  • That PCR tests be reintroduced on day 8 of a traveller’s return to the UK alongside the ‘day 2’ requirement already announced.
  • Confirmation that devolved financial business support schemes will be funded by the Treasury in the event “more interventionist measures” are required.

The letter says: “The emergence of Omicron poses a potential threat to the UK. It is clear that the strain is already here and that it appears highly transmissible.

“We need to work collectively – and effectively – as Four Nations to take all reasonable steps to control the ingress of the virus to the country and then to limit its spread. We are clear that a four nations approach to issues such as border restrictions is the most effective approach.

“This requires that a meeting of the COBRA committee be held as soon as possible.

“We would wish to use that opportunity to see the latest evidence from UK Government health professionals on the variant and to understand the international picture along with the implications that it might have for the UK.

“In particular, we believe the reinstatement of a requirement for a ‘day 8’ PCR test for travellers arriving into the UK – alongside the ‘day 2’ requirement already announced, and thereby requiring isolation for that whole period – is now necessary. Public health advice is unequivocal that this is the best and safest way to protect against the importation of this variant to the fullest extent possible.”

‘Work hard to minimise’ 

It adds: “While our public health systems work hard to minimise the spread of cases already in the UK, it is imperative that we do all we can to avoid under-cutting these efforts by permitting on-going importation.

“We also wish to confirm that devolved financial business support schemes will be funded by the Treasury in the event more interventionist measures are required to respond to the public health situation.

“In our view, it would be better to consider this now, in advance of a potential escalation in the seriousness of the situation, to support effective planning. In particular, it is important for us to agree that if the conditions in a devolved nation were to require more significant interventions than in England, the agreed package of financial support would be available to that nation. We do not want to be in a position again where our public health interventions are negatively impacted by a lack of financial support, but can be switched on as required for England.

“Given the public interest in our working together to achieve the strongest possible response to this threat, this letter is being made public.”

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John Davies
John Davies
1 month ago

On his record, if there was a COBRA meeting called, Johnson would probably fail to show up. I’m glad we live in Wales, where our government may not be perfect but at least it tries.

William Glyn THOMAS
William Glyn THOMAS
1 month ago

He who allegedly is pro-Union shows his true self by NOT co-operating with other members of the Union. He speaks with a forked tongue!!

Glen
Glen
1 month ago

It’s the only tongue he has.

KC Gordon
KC Gordon
1 month ago

So the two FMs publish their letter to the PM – after all that fuss that he published his letter to President Macron! – I do despair sometimes.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago
Reply to  KC Gordon

It was probably the only way they can get him to pay attention to the devolved governments.

defaid
defaid
1 month ago
Reply to  KC Gordon

It’s necessary, I’m afraid, else he’ll trot out his usual lie about how the devolved governments never communicate with him.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago

Pressure on Brexiteer in Chief now, with only 18% supporting Brexit, and that’s UK -wide.
Just imagine the polling in Cymru!

Iain Murcaidh Seion
Iain Murcaidh Seion
1 month ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Never saw that poll…

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago

Just out: You Gov. Also, those who think leaving EU was a mistake up to 52%.

defaid
defaid
1 month ago

YouGov on Twitter 26th November.

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

What an arragant pig the man is. Indy ASAP.

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago

COBRA my a”#!… Boris is more like a slow worm,waiting to warm up before making a move. By which time it will be too late. Christmas cancelled.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
1 month ago

Jason Sturgeon and Drakeford are leading as they are being proactive in their response to the latest Covid variant, something that Johnson is incapable of. If you really think that Johnson is a great leader then let me paraphrase former deputy PM Michael Heseltine’s summary of Johnson: Johnson isn’t a leader, he just watches the crowd to see which way it’s moving then runs to the front and shouts ‘follow me’. Sorry to disappoint all the fans of Bojo the Clown but that ain’t leadership. No doubt Bojo will eventually have a Cobra meeting (probably far too late for it… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

So much for the ‘union of equals’

KC Gordon
KC Gordon
1 month ago

….and now we see the Leader starts a reshuffle just as his Deputy is about to make a major speech….and in his leadership bid he called for teamwork!! – double despair

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

Look, there’re never going to get cooperation from the UK government as it believes the Welsh and Scottish government’s are beneath it. If the sh*t hits the fan – close the damn border! Yeah, yeah, I hear you say it can’t be done but if lives are to be saved…

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