Julian Jessop, Economics Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: Even without a full national lockdown, the additional Covid restrictions apparently being considered in Whitehall could easily knock 2 per cent off GDP - costing the UK economy 4 billion a month - and force the taxpayer to stump up billions more to prevent a new wave of bankruptcies and job losses.
This is on top of all the social costs and harms to people's wellbeing and liberties, as well as the risk of further disruption to children's education.
Some will argue that this would be a fair price to pay to clamp down on Omicron. However, this would require much stronger evidence that the new variant is more deadly, not just more transmissible.
This is a particularly high bar to clear in the UK, where most experts agree that the population has now acquired a high degree of immunity due to past infections and from the vaccine booster programme.
Notes to editors
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