The National:

THE new Omicron variant of the coronavirus has sparked global concern, with even the Tories down in England accepting that it might require a rapid response.

When Boris Johnson, who wouldn’t even wear a mask around a hospital, says people will need to cover their faces, there might be a reason to be cautious.

Not so for Neil Oliver, the former BBC presenter turned GB News conspiracy peddler.

The “coast guy” has found himself trending on Twitter for the wrong reasons, after he claimed on his TV show that “the pandemic is over".

Forget the 40,000 new cases being recorded in the UK every day, Oliver said it's actually just that "the government can’t bear to let [the pandemic] go”.

READ MORE: 'Disgraceful' Neil Oliver pledges not to follow another Covid lockdown

Elsewhere, in a nine-minute monologue posted by GB News, Oliver claims that the new Omicron variant has “been dispatched from poor old Africa” as “too many of us were seen to be awakening from the toxic trance into which we had been put by propaganda”.

He claims that fear of Covid has allowed the government to take “unprecedented power”, power which they will be loath to give up.

Oliver went on: “With that fear on the wane, losing its power to do harm, much like the virus was losing its power, it was plainly time to cast another spell. And here it is, in the form of yet another variant. How timely.”

He calls restrictions brought in to control the spread of the virus “manipulation and mass hypnosis” and claims governments around the world are seeking “to eke more months, perhaps more years, out of the worn-out pandemic by replaying the greatest hits of last year”.

Oliver also questions why people should take booster jags if the vaccine is less effective against the Omicron variant.

The GB News host has found himself criticised on social media for the monologue.

Journalist James Doleman quipped: “Mr Oliver is against ‘spreading fear’.

“Also Neil Oliver: 'The government is part of a vast conspiracy to kill you and your children, facemasks make you sick, all doctors are lying to you for profit, the vaccine is poison'.”

Mike P Williams branded the monologue “a 9-minute Covid sceptic brainfart”, which he said was “beyond satire”.

Lecturer and author Gregory Norminton wrote: “I'm not in favour of cancel culture, but this should be the end of this man's mainstream broadcasting career. Cautioning against state overreach is necessary; anti-vax conspiracy theorising costs lives.”

Writer Otto English wrote simply: “Nurse!”

At this point, anyone.