An order for UK civil servants to return to work as soon as possible has more to do with deflecting attention from prime minister Boris Johnson’s own political troubles, the head of a trade union representing senior civil servants has claimed.

Dave Penman, the FDA’s general secretary, said:

All the evidence shows that across the economy, hybrid working is being embraced, delivering efficiencies for employers and flexibility for employees.

Despite this, ministers are clinging to an ideology of presenteeism that demonstrates they are out of touch with how the world of work has changed since the pandemic began.

The Cabinet Office said measures had been put in place in government buildings to reassure staff and allow the transition back to office working, including increased ventilation and improved cleaning routines.

It added that there was no government requirement or recommendation for employers to limit capacity in the workplace.

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Tokyo on Saturday recorded 11,227 new daily Covid-19 infections, the highest daily tally for the fourth consecutive day amid a continued rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

The local government has reinstated restrictions that are due to run until 13 February.

On Friday, the number of severely ill Covid-19 patients in Japan reached 404, up by 117 from a day before, the health ministry said, as it issued fast-track approval for the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, with the government preparing to kick-start the rollout in March, the Japan Times reported.

Source: The Guardian