The government’s plans for managing the omicron variant are causing rifts in cabinet. They’ve been modelling a work form home scenario over Christmas and New Year and the impacts that it might have against the variant and to the economy, with a decision set to be made for that late next week once they know more. The contentious part is the mandating of vaccine passports, with people having to show proof of vaccination to enter venues with large crowds, with split decisions amongst cabinet as to whether this is a good idea because it might allow venues to stay open, or a bad idea because as it could result in precluding the unvaccinated, effectively stigmatising them for not being jabbed . The early data on omicron is pointing to it being less severe than the Delta variant with Norway, where the largest single outbreak has been outside of South Africa, saying that they’ve only seen mild symptoms and Russia likening it to a live vaccine (though they are definitely not the authority on accurate covid reporting!).
The Telegraph has the story:
The Secret Party of Number 10
It might not be this Christmas that Boris must worry about, as this story about the Number 10 Christmas party that was held during lockdown last December isn’t going anywhere. A video has emerged of Boris’ then communications director Allegra Stratton talking about the event, saying that it was not socially distanced but that it would be passed of as a business meeting. This news led to Sajid Javid cancelling a TV interview last night and Boris has now changed his tune from denying there was a party to saying if there was one he didn’t know about it. One engagement he can’t cancel is PMQ’s this afternoon, which should be TV gold.
US & Russia on Ukraine
US President, Joe Biden and Russian president, Vladamir Putin, had a two hour video call, regarding the developing situation in Ukraine. The West have huge fears that an invasion is imminent, resulting in the narrative becoming more and more assertive regarding the potential consequences. As it stands, all major world leaders have condemned Russia’s move to place 175,000 troops to the Ukrainian boarder. However, all have fallen short of intimating that there will be a military reaction, should Russia make an invasion; instead opting to drive the threat of major economic sanctions, should anything happen. As it stands, the message coming from the US camp, is that it is unclear whether or not Putin is likely to make any moves, with Putin making no promise to withdraw the amassing troops from the Ukrainian boarder. Both sides seem to be claiming that they have achieved everything they want to from the call, with Biden’s camp saying that they will be willing to send further defence weapons into the area along with troops, however this looks like a fight that the US don’t want to be in, with Russian invasion precedent already existing, as recently as 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea. With the global outlook regarding Covid and economic recoveries still the most prevalent issues, ensuing fallout between Russia and NATO is almost counterintuitive.
As of January 1st 2022, the UAE will move their working week, in line with the western world. All government entities will work four and a half days from Monday through to Friday afternoon, and then they will have a traditional weekend, on Saturday and Sunday. The transition is “in line with the UAE’s vision to enhance its global competitiveness across economic and business sectors, and to keep pace with global developments”, the Abu Dhabi government media office said in a statement.
The US are getting close to finding a resolution as they draw nearer to hitting their debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has predicted the US will hit its ceiling on December 15th, which would be the first time ever the US has defaulted on its debt. If this eventuality were to play out, then the global economy and stock markets would get decimated. As it stands, the Republicans are doing whatever they can to prevent the debt ceiling being raised, although they are not expected to block the Democrats from preventing a default. Yesterday the House took steps to passing a bill that would allow the Senate to raise the country’s borrowing limit with a majority vote. The motion is already on its way to the senate, which only needs the backing of 10 Republicans to pass, and make its way for sign off from Joe Biden. This is a risk event we ought to follow closely, although it is likely to be resolved, should we breach the December 15th threshold with no resolution, that will percolate through the markets.
Have a great day.
This Morning Report was brought to you by Alex Ayoub