Lord Alan Sugar has said he would not support another lockdown during the Omicron-driven surge in coronavirus cases, and called on young people to “stop becoming complacent, and go and get their vaccinations”.
The Apprentice star and businessman said the UK is facing “a different dilemma, a different crisis,” as it tackles the ongoing effects of the pandemic.
However, Lord Sugar said the milder nature of Omicron means he does not want to see another lockdown.
He told the PA news agency: “I wouldn’t support that, and I don’t think it’s going to happen, to be honest with you, because this latest variant is not a killer.
“I know a lot of people that have got it, and basically, they get over it in about four or five days.
“So, no more lockdowns. I think the Prime Minister has actually said it’s not going to happen, so, good.”
Assessing how the pandemic has impacted the economy, he said: “There are valleys and mountains of things that have affected the economy.
“There are the crashes of the stock market, there’s the 2007 crash of the banking system – that was very bad for the economy.
“This is a different dilemma, a different crisis. But people have learned to adapt, people have learned to overcome it.
“A lot of people have adapted their businesses to online business; online businesses really have boomed, takeaway food has really boomed.
“There are some businesses that have been affected badly – the Government tried their best to help them out. But, look, we adapt, people adapt.
“Television, as a whole, has adapted. You’ve seen shows like The Graham Norton Show, it went ahead; OK, albeit a lot of zoom calls and things like that, but we adapt.
“And I think, generally speaking, Britain has done well, and we feel for the NHS who have done a fantastic job.
“And, obviously, with this latest Omicron thing, hopefully, early signs are showing that it’s not as lethal as the initial stuff.
“And I sincerely hope that the younger people, who are the ones that tend to be going down with it now, stop becoming complacent, and go and get their vaccinations.
“I know that they don’t like being told what to do, but as a daddy, if you like, an elder person, I would suggest get out there and get it done.”
The Apprentice returns to screens on Thursday, with Lord Sugar aided by Baroness Karren Brady, and previous winner Tim Campbell filling in for Claude Littner while he recovers from an accident.
Asked how the pandemic impacted the new series, Lord Sugar said: “We are British, and I remember my mum and dad telling me during the war, when bombs were being dropped, and houses were being destroyed, they had to live and survive under certain circumstances.
“And this Covid thing brings out the true British spirit again.
“We’ve understood the problem, we’ve understood the issue. It took us a while to grab it but then afterwards we thought, ‘right, well, let’s work around it, let’s work within it. Let’s work within the constraints. Let’s get something done. We’re just not going to give up’.
“And that’s exactly what we did, what the BBC did, what the production company did here, and I think hats off to them for adapting, and the true British fighting spirit. And it won’t get us down, we will beat this thing.”
Baroness Brady added: “A really good thing from the viewers’ point of view is you won’t sense there’s any difference, you won’t see any masks on screen, you won’t know there’s a pandemic going on.
“And I think from the viewers’ point of view, that’s important.
“But behind the scenes, obviously, lots of testing, social distances, masks when we weren’t (on camera).
“It was a massive production just to get through the production and keep everybody safe. But from the viewers’ point of view, there won’t be any difference at all.”
The new series of The Apprentice starts on January 6 at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.