The final three months of 2021 saw what many had feared – a new variant of Covid-19.
The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa in November and since then has spread to over 130 countries. Recent studies suggest the new variant is more transmissible, but less deadly, than previous strains.
Faced with the threat of the number of Omicron cases doubling every two to three days, the government implemented ‘Plan B’. This made NHS Covid-19 passes mandatory in certain places, encouraged people to work from home where possible and made face masks compulsory in most indoor venues.
What’s happening in the economy?
The Plan B measures brought England into line with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, who already had similar rules in place. They’re much less stringent than the national lockdowns implemented in 2020 and 2021, so should have a more limited impact on the economy. That said, a surge in Covid-19 cases – more than 2 million in a single week in December – left lots of businesses short staffed, and unable to operate at full…