Rules ‘Could Be Tightened After Christmas’ As Omicron Cases Multiply


Stricter restrictions may soon be introduced in the face of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, after experts have warned that there are likely already hundreds of thousands of new infections every day.

Stricter measures could be imposed after Boxing Day, according to an article in The Sun newspaper, which indicated that the contingency plan had not yet been presented to ministers.

It comes after government science advisers said hospital admissions with the UK variant are “probably around a tenth of the actual number” due to a delay in notification.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) ‘s “situation update” on Thursday was released on Saturday and said it is “almost certain that there are now hundreds of thousands of new Omicron infections per day. ” in England.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a major incident due to the “extremely worrying” increase in cases in the capital, as he expressed fears over staff absences in vital public services including the NHS, firefighters and police due to infection.

Asked about a possible tightening of restrictions after Christmas, a government spokesperson said they would “continue to closely examine all data and monitor our measures.”

The prospect of new rules comes less than a week after Boris Johnson suffered a rebellion from a large number of Tory backbenchers who challenged him to vote against mandatory use of health passes Covid for large rooms.

Brexit Minister Lord Frost, who resigned on Saturday, gave an indication of his belief in the Prime Minister’s state of mind, saying in his resignation letter that “we must also learn to live with Covid and I know that is also your instinct “.

It has been reported that the public may not have access to Sandringham to see members of the Royal Family attending church on Christmas Day (Joe Giddens / PA)

Meanwhile, the Mirror reported that the royal family’s traditional walk to church on Christmas Day may not be accessible to the public due to the pandemic.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment, but it is understood that Christmas plans remain under review.

The Sunday Telegraph reported a source saying the options include the Queen staying at Windsor Castle.

Last week, it was confirmed that the traditional pre-Christmas family celebration for members of the royal family, which was due to be held on Tuesday, was called off over fears it could endanger the festive arrangements of too many people if it was unfolding.

Experts have warned that the indoor mix is ​​the
Experts have warned that indoor mixing is the “greatest risk factor” for the spread of the variant (PA)

The latest figures from the UK Health Security Agency showed there had been an additional 10,059 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 reported across the UK, bringing the total confirmed cases of the variant to all four countries to 24,968.

In England, the number of deaths of people with the Omicron variant has risen to seven, and hospital admissions for people with confirmed or suspected Omicron have jumped to 85.

The opinion of the Scientific Panel on Pandemic Influenza on Modeling, Task Subgroup (SPI-MO), in documents also released on Saturday but dated December 8, said that in almost all modeling, a significant reduction in transmission “of a similar magnitude to the confinement” of January of this year would be necessary “to keep hospitalizations below the level of previous peaks”.

Experts have warned that indoor mixing is the “greatest risk factor” for the spread of the variant, and that large gatherings risk creating “multiple spread events.”

They said speeding up the booster program would not help in terms of hospital admissions at this point, as many would be those infected now, before immunity had time to build. .

The Liberal Democrats called for the recall of Parliament on Monday to debate next steps, with party leader Sir Ed Davey saying: ‘We cannot allow the Prime Minister to sit on his hands as the NHS and business are on the verge of collapse. “

Stephen Reicher, professor of social psychology at the University of St Andrews and a member of Sage, said it was clear that Plan B measures alone would not be enough to stop the growing number of cases and warned that waiting until after Christmas to act is “probably too late”.

A Cobra meeting was due to take place at some point over the weekend with the decentralized nations.


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