Covid: Radio caller calls for conscription to 'civil defence force'
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LBC caller Steve insisted he is against national conscription but recognised the UK requires a special defence force of volunteers to cope with the ongoing coronavirus emergency. The NHS and social care have warned the Omicron variant is posing severe risks due to the growing number of staff falling in and requiring workers to self-isolate. Speaking to radio host Andrew Castle, Steve said: “In the beginning, we were told if 10 percent of the emergency services were off sick, this country would be in real problems
“But I haven’t heard that said again. Why didn’t we instigate a national emergency workforce like a national civil defence force?
“Because our army and military is so reduced they can’t really cope with stepping in all the time.
“We’re in a dire situation and we don’t have enough people volunteering.
“So I think we need to have a national conscription, an emergency force in this country. That’s what we should have had.”
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Steve continued: “I’m against national service but in national emergencies…some would have said coronavirus is a national emergency.
“Some people think it’s nothing, it’s not an emergency, and think the Government shouldn’t be dealing with it at all.
“But we have a lot of other jobs that needed doing that haven’t been covered, like the postal service, the vaccination centers.
“I know we’ve got a lot of volunteers here but we need them recognised as a national force.”
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London Mayor Sadiq Khan last week declared a “major incident” in the capital as he warned rising cases of the Omicron variant were becoming increasingly concerning.
He reported data had shown a growing number of emergency service staff has been forced to self-isolate after contracting coronavirus.
The Commons two weeks ago voted through tougher restrictions, including mandatory face masks in shops and public transport as well as Covid passes to access large venues.
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Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales all announced further restrictions will be implemented from December 26 and major New Year’s celebrations including Hogmanay were cancelled.
The Prime Minister said no new policies will be introduced before Christmas but has maintained the Government is ready to intervene should data on the Omicron variant spark further cause of concern.
The earliest data about the latest mutation of COVID-19 has suggested Omicron may be less likely to lead to serious illness than the Delta variant of coronavirus offers a “glimmer of Christmas hope”
UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) chief executive Dr Jenny Harries warned that it is too early to downgrade the threat from the new strain, which is still spreading rapidly across the UK.
Dr Harries told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that more information is needed, particularly about the impact on elderly and more vulnerable patients.
She added: “There is a glimmer of Christmas hope in the findings that we published yesterday, but it definitely isn’t yet at the point where we could downgrade that serious threat.”
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