BRITS who feel unwell have been given permission by a top public health official to take more sick days.
As the “worst cold ever” circulates, Dr Jenny Harries urged people to recover at home, rather than take the more traditional approach of “grin and bear it” and go into the office.
The chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency made the comments as the threat of a rocky winter looms.
Dr Harries told Times Radio: “I think, particularly as we approach the flu season for example, whereas people traditionally in the UK have sort of grinned and borne their infectious disease and then gone into work and spread it around, I’m hoping that, as we go through winter, people when they are symptomatic will generally recognise that and stay away and be supported to do so.”
In the wake of the Covid pandemic, a growing number of experts and ministers have said people should be wary of spreading any type of virus, rather than “getting on with it”.
This includes common colds, which Brits tend to brush off.
More and more people are being struck down with the “worst cold ever” because immunity has depleted during lockdowns.
Cases of norovirus are much higher for this time of year, some 30,000 people are catching Covid each day, and soon flu will be spreading.
Experts have warned the symptoms of Delta Covid variant in those fully protected against the virus can be easily confused with a cold.
But there have been increasing calls for people to return to offices, after the pandemic caused a widespread switch to working from home.
At the recent Conservative Party conference Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a fresh call for workers to return to “buzzing” town centres, adding “we will and must see people back in the office” as he continued his drive to end working from home.
He said workers would be “gossiped about” and “lose out” if they did not show up for face-to-face work more often.
But Dr Harries did not share the sentiment, saying there is likely to be a rise in Covid cases if everyone returns to work immediately.
“If everybody returned immediately to work without due consideration, then I think it’s likely we would see more cases over a short period of time, depending on whether they were wearing face coverings, whether they were taking appropriate precautions,” Dr Harries said.
“But, of course, most people are protected now, so even people who are doubly vaccinated are becoming infected, (but) they are not becoming seriously ill and they are not dying in the way that we saw previously.”
Dr Harries said there needed… Brinkwire Brief News.