PM’s assertion ruling out Christmas Day curbs 

Good afternoon everyone.

I needed to replace you shortly on the newest Covid scenario.

There isn’t a doubt that Omicron continues to surge with a pace not like something we have seen earlier than.

The scenario stays extraordinarily tough however I additionally recognise that folks have been ready to listen to whether or not their Christmas plans are going to be affected.

So what I can say tonight, is that naturally we won’t rule out any additional measures after Christmas – and we’ll maintain a relentless eye on the information, and we’ll do no matter it takes to guard public well being.

However in view of the persevering with uncertainty about a number of issues – the severity of Omicron, uncertainty in regards to the hospitalisation price or the impression of the vaccine rollout or the boosters, we do not suppose immediately that there’s sufficient proof to justify any more durable measures earlier than Christmas.

We proceed to watch Omicron very carefully and if the scenario deteriorates we shall be able to take motion if wanted.

What this implies is that folks can go forward with their Christmas plans however the scenario stays finely balanced and I might urge everybody to train warning, to maintain defending yourselves and your family members, particularly the weak.

And bear in mind to maintain following the steerage – put on a masks indoors when required to take action, maintain contemporary air circulating, and take a take a look at earlier than you go to aged or weak family members.

So, in case you have not executed so already then please drop all the things, discover a walk-in or log on and make an appointment and Get Boosted Now.

Boris Johnson hit the brakes on Christmas lockdown as scientists concluded the Omicron pressure is more likely to be milder than Delta, it was revealed immediately – with ministers saying instances are additionally decrease than feared. 

The PM declared final night time that Christmas can undoubtedly go forward ‘cautiously’, however warned that the federal government is monitoring the unfold of the mutant pressure hour by hour and is ‘prepared’ to behave after December 25 if mandatory.

Nevertheless, in a glimmer of sunshine there are claims immediately that the UK Well being Safety Company has tentatively backed strategies that Omicron infections are usually much less extreme.

The scientists additionally endorsed earlier findings that booster jabs provide important safety from creating signs and ending up in hospital, based on Politico.

The proof – on account of be printed formally within the coming days – doesn’t imply that the risk from the variant might be ignored, as it’s so transmissible that enormous numbers are set to finish up in hospital.

Nevertheless, it will likely be a big increase to Mr Johnson as he weighs up whether or not to herald even more durable restrictions after Christmas.

In a spherical of interviews this morning, well being minister Gillian Keegan stated ‘we’ve not acquired that formally but’ when requested in regards to the UKHA conclusions. 

She additionally identified that the instances, whereas dramatically up, are nonetheless means off the grim predictions of some scientific fashions. 

‘While the case numbers are very excessive, they haven’t but reached what was estimated solely per week in the past,’ she stated. 

A mooted ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown can be devastating for already-stricken companies, in addition to ruining the New 12 months plans of thousands and thousands. 

There are claims that the federal government is watching hospitalisations in London, and will act if the quantity rises above 400. 

Overseas Secretary Liz Truss is amongst not less than three Cupboard ministers pushing for a ‘thorough evaluation of the financial impression of additional restrictions’, based on the Telegraph. 

One other 90,629 Covid instances had been recorded in 24 hours throughout the UK yesterday, together with 172 deaths. 

An additional 15,363 infections with the Omicron variant have been confirmed, bringing the whole to 60,508 – though the tempo of unfold appears to be like slower than initially feared.    

MPs who had been briefed on the newest info by the Authorities’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty stated there was nonetheless no readability on the information that will justify new curbs. One stated members of the backbench Covid Restoration Group had been ‘unimpressed’ with the briefing.

One other – a former minister – stated the briefing was ‘very data-light’. He added that he and his colleagues felt there was ‘completely no foundation on which to hurry into additional curbs after Christmas – and most of all hospitality and households want some readability past this weekend.’

Nevertheless, one other Tory MP advised the Instances: ‘I did not get the impression they [Whitty and Vallance] had been satisfied we had been making a mistake [in not imposing restrictions], even when they most likely thought on stability we most likely are.’ 

The highest advisers are stated to have warned of the prospect of ‘big workers shortages’ within the NHS over the approaching days because of the unfold of the virus. 

Amid rising anger that thousands and thousands of individuals are being left in limbo, the PM final night time utterly dominated out any additional curbs being launched earlier than December 25.

However he gave discover that the federal government continues to be monitoring the ‘finely balanced’ scenario with Omicron ‘very rigorously’ and is ‘able to take motion’ afterwards if mandatory. 

In an additional increase, officers reduce the quarantine time for confirmed virus instances from ten to seven days for individuals who take a look at destructive two days in a row. The rule change, which takes impact from Wednesday, will free hundreds of individuals from isolation in time for Christmas. 

The short-term readability got here after Nicola Sturgeon dramatically cancelled large-scale New 12 months celebrations in Scotland, reintroducing limits on households mixing, desk service in hospitality and crowds at main occasions. 

In an announcement launched on video this night, Mr Johnson stated: ‘What this implies is that folks can go forward with their Christmas plans however the scenario stays finely balanced and I might urge everybody to train warning, to maintain defending yourselves and your family members, particularly the weak.

‘And bear in mind to maintain following the steerage – put on a masks indoors when required to take action, maintain contemporary air circulating, and take a take a look at earlier than you go to aged or weak family members.’ 

On one other intense day of coronavirus drama:

  • 1000’s extra individuals are set to be launched from isolation in time for Christmas as ministers reduce the interval from 10 days to seven days; 
  • Mr Johnson’s private score have slumped once more, with YouGov discovering a web minus 48 suppose he’s performing effectively – down from minus 35 final month. Simply 22 per cent approve of the federal government with 60 per cent disapproving; 
  • The NHS has given one million Covid jabs in a single day for the primary time, however nonetheless seems to be off the tempo to hit the New 12 months goal on boosters;
  • London’s New 12 months’s Eve celebration occasion in Trafalgar Sq. has been axed with Sadiq Khan urging folks to look at TV as a substitute.  
Boris Johnson tonight declared that Christmas can definitely go ahead 'cautiously' - but new restrictions for the New Year could be unveiled in as little as 48 hours

Boris Johnson tonight declared that Christmas can undoubtedly go forward ‘cautiously’ – however new restrictions for the New 12 months might be unveiled in as little as 48 hours

MPs who were briefed on the latest information by the Government's chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said there was still no clarity on the data that would justify new curbs.

MPs who had been briefed on the newest info by the Authorities’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty stated there was nonetheless no readability on the information that will justify new curbs.

Covid isolation interval is reduce to SEVEN days 

Greater than 280,000 folks contaminated with coronavirus and going through Christmas alone can now safely get pleasure from festivities with their households after a change in isolation guidelines.

Well being chiefs have immediately introduced those that take a look at optimistic for Covid might be launched after seven days, slightly than 10, offering they take two lateral movement assessments on the finish of that interval.

The UK Well being Safety Company (UKHSA) stated contaminated sufferers can take the assessments 24 hours aside on day six and 7 of their isolation interval, which if destructive means they will cease quarantining.

This implies the 102,875 individuals who examined optimistic on December 15, the 95,058 optimistic instances the next day, and an additional 82,945 individuals who contracted the virus on December 17, shall be free to get pleasure from Christmas along with family members below the brand new guidelines.

It has additionally been hailed as a significant increase to the NHS, with Well being Secretary Sajid Javid reportedly amongst these involved on the variety of workers who’ve been off work with the virus below the 10-day rule.

Nevertheless, unvaccinated adults who’ve come into contact with somebody contaminated with Covid should nonetheless self-isolate till 10 days after their estimated date of publicity to the virus.

Earlier, Rishi Sunak unveiled a £1billion bailout for stricken companies. The Chancellor introduced grants of as much as £6,000 per premises for hospitality and leisure corporations being crippled by a wave of cancellations following the emergence of the Omicron pressure. 

The taxpayer will even cowl the price of statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for firms with fewer than 250 workers.    

Ms Sturgeon heaped stress on Mr Johnson by tightening the principles north of the border from December 27, urging folks to not combine with different households till the top of the primary week in January – together with Hogmanay. Desk service shall be reintroduced in hospitality venues, and there have to be a one-metre hole between teams.  

The SNP chief stated crowds at massive public occasions shall be restricted for 3 weeks after Boxing Day – with soccer matches successfully turning into ‘spectator free’.  

There was heavy criticism of the declare from SAGE modellers that deaths might attain 6,000 a day within the worst state of affairs, and though each day instances have been rising sharply and topped 100,000 on December 15 they’re nonetheless wanting the degrees feared. 

Main statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter has additionally identified that round half of latest Covid admissions in Omicron hotspot London solely examined optimistic after arriving at hospital, probably for a distinct ailment – though he careworn they’d nonetheless add to stress on the well being service.

Official figures out immediately reveal that Covid was talked about on 764 demise certificates registered in England and Wales within the week to December 10 – 4 per cent down from the earlier week and the bottom degree since October.  

Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley, the Father of the Home, stated ‘most MPs of all events now are conscious of what’s the factual foundation for understanding the scenario’ after the briefing with Prof Whitty and Sir Patrick.

‘There are some issues unknown now which can develop into higher identified over the subsequent week or two. And there are a variety of myths which individuals want to concentrate on,’ he stated.

‘The following level is that this: the statistics are a mix of the rising numbers of the brand new variant and the declining tail of the previous variant. And you can not simply mix the 2 to offer your self a correct image of what’s going on and what may go on.’

On whether or not extra coronavirus restrictions shall be wanted after Christmas, the MP for Worthing West stated: ‘I believe there is a decrease likelihood of main restrictions as a result of we’re making particular person choices that are according to our personal wellbeing, and the wellbeing of these we care about.’

Conservative MP Peter Bone stated he doesn’t see the necessity for additional Covid-19 restrictions for the time being, including: ‘I actually agree with the Prime Minister that no new restrictions must be made earlier than Christmas.

‘In the event that they suppose they want additional restrictions, the Authorities wants to come back to Parliament, it must put its proposals. Proof have to be scrutinised by MPs and we have to debate and vote. However for the time being, I do not see any want.’

Amid rising anger that millions of people are being left in limbo, the PM completely ruled out any further curbs being introduced before December 25

Amid rising anger that thousands and thousands of individuals are being left in limbo, the PM utterly dominated out any additional curbs being launched earlier than December 25

Nicola Sturgeon today cancelled large scale New Year celebrations in Scotland as she unveiled additional coronavirus restrictions to slow the spread of the Omicron variant

Nicola Sturgeon immediately cancelled massive scale New 12 months celebrations in Scotland as she unveiled extra coronavirus restrictions to gradual the unfold of the Omicron variant

People have still been out doing last-minute shopping in Winchester today despite the alarm over the Omicron spread

Folks have nonetheless been out doing last-minute purchasing in Winchester immediately regardless of the alarm over the Omicron unfold 

Workers in Edinburgh began to dismantle the city's preparations for Hogmanay after Ms Sturgeon announced the new curbs to MSPs at Holyrood

Employees in Edinburgh started to dismantle town’s preparations for Hogmanay after Ms Sturgeon introduced the brand new curbs to MSPs at Holyrood

Empty tables and chairs at a restaurant in London's West End last night as the hospitality sector faces another crisis

Empty tables and chairs at a restaurant in London’s West Finish final night time because the hospitality sector faces one other disaster

The latest YouGov research has found just 22 per cent approve of the government, with 60 per cent disapproving

The newest YouGov analysis has discovered simply 22 per cent approve of the federal government, with 60 per cent disapproving

A queue for a vaccination centre at Hampden Park in Glasgow today, before Ms Sturgeon announced that more restrictions will be brought in for Scotland after Christmas

A queue for a vaccination centre at Hampden Park in Glasgow immediately, earlier than Ms Sturgeon introduced that extra restrictions shall be introduced in for Scotland after Christmas  

‘A lump of coal for Christmas’: Fury as Sturgeon cancels New 12 months in Scotland over Omicron fears 

Nicola Sturgeon immediately cancelled massive scale New 12 months celebrations in Scotland as she unveiled extra coronavirus restrictions to gradual the unfold of the Omicron variant, prompting enterprise leaders to accuse her of giving corporations ‘a lump of coal of their Christmas stocking’. 

The Scottish First Minister revealed there had been 9 new deaths and 5,242 optimistic assessments within the final 24 hours, down on the 6,734 instances recorded yesterday, as she stated official recommendation for Christmas Day stays unchanged, with folks allowed to fulfill with household however urged to be cautious. 

However from December 26 for 3 weeks there shall be attendance limits positioned on dwell public occasions which can torpedo Hogmanay festivities.

The bounds won’t apply to non-public life occasions like weddings, however Ms Sturgeon stated for indoor standing occasions the restrict shall be 100 folks, for indoor seated occasions it will likely be 200 and for outside occasions 500 seated or standing. 

It will imply that from Boxing Day soccer and different sporting matches in Scotland will successfully be spectator-free.          

Ms Sturgeon additionally stated that from December 27 the Scottish Authorities is advising folks to return to limiting their social contacts ‘as a lot as you probably can’ whereas a desk service-only requirement shall be reimposed on hospitality venues serving alcohol, lasting for an preliminary interval of three weeks. 

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce stated the brand new restrictions represented ‘one other hammer blow’ for companies and plenty of will view it ‘because the equal of receiving a lump of coal of their Christmas stocking’.   

Covid instances have remained flat since final Friday once they hit a peak of greater than 93,000. 

The slowing statistics could also be behind Boris Johnson’s resolution to not convey any more durable restrictions earlier than Christmas, claiming there was ‘not sufficient proof to justify’ them.

Gloomy Authorities modelling introduced to ministers final week stated the mutant variant was doubling each two days and was infecting as much as 400,000 each day by the weekend. 

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious illnesses professional on the College of East Anglia, advised MailOnline that Mr Johnson had made the best resolution as he slammed the modelling.

He stated: ‘It isn’t all doom and gloom, it does appear like Omicron has stopped rising. The numbers over the previous few days appear to have plateaued and perhaps even be falling.

‘It is a bit too quickly to be completely certain about that, but when it’s the case Boris Johnson will breathe a sigh of reduction. We have now to be a bit of bit cautious as a result of it is just a few days.

‘And since we’re getting nearer to Christmas there’s nervousness that folks could not come ahead for testing as a result of they do not need to take a look at optimistic and miss out on assembly family members.

‘Omicron overtook the opposite variants round December 14 so most of any modifications from there on can be right down to Omicron. So if it was nonetheless doubling each two days that will have proven and we should always have been at 200,000 instances yesterday and definitely greater than 200,000 instances immediately.

‘However the reality it has been round 91,000 raises the purpose that it would even have peaked. However it would most likely take till not less than Wednesday to get an concept of a day that’s not affected by the weekend. However I’m extra optimistic than I used to be a number of days in the past.

There have been 1.49million assessments carried out immediately which is down from 1.56 million final Wednesday, however Professor Hunter stated the ‘comparatively small drop’ in testing wouldn’t conceal a virus actually doubling each two days.

Newest hospital figures present there have been 847 Covid admissions on December 17, up solely 7 per cent on the earlier week. There have been an additional 172 Covid deaths immediately, up 14 per cent. 

In epicentre London the wave additionally seems to be slowing after 20,491 instances had been recorded within the final 24 hours, down barely on yesterday’s tally of twenty-two,750. It additionally marked the sixth day in a row instances have been above 20,000.

Hospitalisations within the capital are rising with one other 245 registered immediately, up 56 per cent in per week, however MailOnline evaluation confirmed as much as 1 / 4 of those aren’t primarily Covid.  

Mr Sunak lastly unveiled the assist for companies after bars and eating places had been left abandoned following more and more grim warnings from Chris Whitty and different specialists. The spending will make one other dent within the public funds, after new figures revealed immediately that borrowing has risen above forecasts with the economic system stalling. 

A survey by Ipsos MORI revealed a majority of Britons at the moment are taking issues into their very own palms to scale back their probabilities of catching coronavirus, with 58 per cent saying they’ve averted public transport or plan to take action, and 57 per cent saying the identical about going to pubs and eating places, and social gatherings with family and friends. 

Native authorities will administer the £683million of hospitality and leisure grants, with 200,000 companies set to learn – though the factors don’t appear clear. One other £102million will go into discretionary funds, once more managed by city halls, and the emergency fund for cultural organisations will get a £30million increase. 

The devolved administrations will obtain round £150million of funding by means of the Barnett formulation as a part of the assist introduced, with round £80million for the Scottish Authorities, £50million for the Welsh Authorities and £25million for the Northern Eire Government.

Mr Sunak gave a robust trace that the federal government will go additional if extra restrictions are wanted, saying they can not ‘rule something out’.

‘Folks will be capable to have a look at our monitor file during the last 12 months or two and supporting folks and companies, particularly within the hospitality business all through this disaster,’ he advised journalists.

‘I’ll all the time reply proportionately and appropriately to the scenario that we face. Folks can have faith in that.

‘The place we at the moment are we have responded, I believe, generously immediately, the grants that we have outlined as much as £6,000 are corresponding to the grants that we supplied for hospitality companies once they had been utterly closed earlier this 12 months. So, there is a benchmark for you.

‘Additionally, it is essential to recollect we have now assist already in place that lasts all the best way to subsequent spring.

‘So, for instance, a decreased price of VAT for the hospitality and tourism sectors, and this 12 months they’re benefiting from a 75 per cent low cost on their enterprise charges invoice. These sorts of issues final all the best way to subsequent March to assist the business.’   

Kate Nicholls, chief government of the UKHospitality business physique, stated: ‘This can be a beneficiant bundle constructing on current hospitality assist measures to supply a right away emergency money injection for these companies who, by means of no fault of their very own, have seen their most precious buying and selling interval annihilated.

‘It would assist to safe jobs and enterprise viability within the quick time period, notably amongst small companies within the sector, and we notably welcome the increase to funds for the availability chain and occasion and enterprise catering firms so badly affected by the reintroduction of make money working from home pointers.

‘There’s now an actual urgency in getting this funding to companies so we urge native authorities to prioritise distribution of funds to ensure jobs and companies are preserved by means of this tough interval.’

The president of British Chambers of Commerce, Conservative peer Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, known as for readability on who shall be eligible.

She advised BBC Radio 4’s World at One: ‘We requested very a lot for grant assist, so we’re delighted that grant assist has been given, however we do not know but the definition of eligible companies and firms.’

She added: ‘I believe it’s a good begin. Our concern is round the truth that we’d like enterprise confidence and we have now obtained uncertainty.

‘We have to know that we are able to keep open and proceed to commerce and customers will return.’

However shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves complained that the federal government had been ‘dragged kicking and screaming’ to providing assist.

‘The PM continues to be too distracted by revolt from Tory backbenchers to behave within the public curiosity. Companies and staff are crying out for readability on what restrictions are down the highway as many proceed to be hit exhausting,’ she stated. 

Senior Tories hailed the choice to keep away from fast restrictions this morning, whereas some scientists accused Mr Johnson of ‘caving in’ to sceptics within the Cupboard after ‘shedding authority’ following a sequence of scandals.

Commons Chief Jacob Rees-Mogg is known to have urged the federal government through the assembly to ‘belief folks’ to reply to the alarm in regards to the speedy unfold of the brand new pressure, slightly than bringing again draconian legal guidelines.

Mr Johnson is claimed to have cautioned that clarification won’t wash if the NHS is at severe danger of being underwhelmed, however finally went with the bulk view amongst his group. Critics stated he had ‘caved in’, though No10 denied that he was overruled, stressing he didn’t make any agency proposal. 

Mr Johnson was boosted by Sir Jeremy Farrar, a former member of SAGE, backing the place of ready for one more day to see up to date figures on hospitalisations. He advised the At this time programme that ‘every of us can do issues immediately that can make the possibility of additional restrictions lighter’.

UK data greater than 100,000 each day instances for first time  

The UK recorded greater than 100,000 Covid instances in a single day for the primary time ever final week, new information exhibits after the emergence of the extremely transmissible Omicron variant.

A complete of 102,297 folks examined optimistic for the virus final Wednesday, based on backdated Authorities figures — marking the primary time they’ve risen above triple digits formally for the reason that begin of the pandemic.

The determine appears to be like at optimistic instances by ‘specimen date’, the day somebody took the take a look at, and is totally different from each day reported instances introduced by Authorities on daily basis, which appears to be like at when somebody acquired their outcome. 

It will probably take as much as 5 days for the variety of optimistic assessments on any single day to be totally counted so extra days the place Covid instances have breached 100,000 could emerge within the coming days.    

However case numbers are nonetheless effectively under the projections of gloomy Authorities modelling which stated there have been as much as 400,000 infections a day final week and that this might rise to 1million by the height this winter.

Doubts about No10 scientific projections are believed to be the explanation Boris Johnson has pumped the brakes on a Christmas lockdown, with ministers ready for extra concrete information on the variant. 

Final Friday, the Division of Well being reported 93,045 new Covid instances. Instances have barely moved in 4 days and a file 1.5million Britons are being examined for the virus on daily basis at the moment, which suggests the difficulty just isn’t an absence of assessments.  

Commons sources stated that there was ‘chaos’ popping out of Downing Avenue about whether or not they need to count on a recall over the Christmas interval. 

After authorities borrowing for November got here in larger than predicted this morning, Cupboard Workplace minister Steve Barclay highlighted the ‘financial penalties’ of extra restrictions. 

Mr Barclay advised BBC Breakfast: ‘The Prime Minister has given a dedication that the place there are extra laws purchased ahead that Parliament can be recalled so that Members of Parliament can scrutinise and debate these points, however we’re not at that stage.

‘We’re wanting carefully on the information and we have to recognise there are financial penalties to additional restrictions.’

With plans for the two-week ‘circuit breaker’ nonetheless stated to be on the desk, Mr Johnson final night time warned he needed to ‘reserve the likelihood’ of additional restrictions to regulate the unfold of Omicron. 

Nevertheless he admitted the information was not clear sufficient to justify motion now.

The PM has promised to seek the advice of parliament on any new authorized curbs and it’s extremely unlikely that MPs might be recalled in time to behave earlier than the Christmas break.

A row erupted yesterday over modelling that had appeared to boost the specter of Christmas being ‘cancelled’ for a second 12 months.

In forecasts leaked over the weekend, the SAGE committee cited modelling that with out speedy motion each day deaths might hit 6,000 within the worst case – and hospital admissions 10,000.

However with big uncertainty over the severity of Omicron, ministers, MPs and specialists rejected the ‘implausible’ predictions.

Tory former chief Iain Duncan Smith referred to SAGE modeller Graham Medley as ‘Graham Meddler’ throughout an interview on BBC Radio 4’s At this time programme, though it was not clear if it was a slip of the tongue. 

Mr Duncan Smith stated the federal government ought to solely decide based mostly on a ‘wider vary of data on the impact of lockdown’.  

‘We have to perceive the impact of lockdown is dramatic throughout so many areas of individuals’s lives, which equates to the identical as folks going into hospital,’ he stated.

Sir Jeremy, head of the Wellcome Belief, stated folks might take private duty.

‘Omicron is spreading unbelievably quick. It’s a phenomenal variant transmission,’ he stated.

‘There’s nice uncertainty about what’s it going to result in when it comes to stress on the well being system, folks going to hospital, notably folks dying, but additionally what impression is it going to have on the broader society, workers absences, the flexibility to have functioning different companies, so there’s nice uncertainty.

‘My private view is that I believe we are able to wait for the time being till there are extra restrictions formally positioned.’ 

Might the New 12 months see a ban on socialising indoors and the Rule of Six outdoors? 

Hypothesis is mounting that the federal government might impose a a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in England after Christmas. 

Ministers and officers have apparently pencilled in December 28 as a doable date to set off the brand new curbs. 

The preparations come after SAGE steered which might successfully re-impose ‘Step 2’ of Boris Johnson’s previous lockdown exit roadmap for 2 weeks.   

It’s unclear which elements of ‘Step 2’ might be included however a crackdown on indoor social contact is seen because the almost certainly transfer. 

Beneath is a breakdown of the measures included within the previous ‘Step 2’ which was in drive in April this 12 months.  

Ban on indoor socialising: Folks weren’t allowed to socialize indoors, besides with members of the identical family. The rule of six utilized outside.

Curbs on hospitality: Bars, pubs and eating places had been closed indoors however might serve folks outside the place the rule of six utilized.  

Outlets: All retail remained open, together with hairdressers, magnificence and nail salons. 

Home journey: Folks had been suggested to minimise journey as a lot as doable. 

Schooling: Early years settings, colleges and schools had been open for all college students.     

Mr Barclay stated there had been a ‘strong dialogue’ at Cupboard about how to reply to the Omicron risk.

 ‘We’re wanting carefully on the information, there’s a lot we nonetheless do not know in regards to the severity of Omicron, the way it results in hospital admissions,’ he stated.

‘We’re wanting notably on the London information, there’s a larger prevalence of Omicron notably in London.’

Requested if he had been amongst members of the Cupboard calling for extra information, Mr Barclay stated: ‘I believe it’s proper that the Cupboard has a full and strong dialogue.

‘That’s what folks would count on. It’s proper that we have a look at the stability between defending lives and livelihoods.’

Covid behind only one in 16 deaths in England and Wales, newest figures present

Covid was behind only one in 16 deaths in England and Wales within the two weeks after Omicron first hit Britain as Covid fatalities hit a two-month low, official figures revealed immediately.

Information from the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics exhibits simply 764 of the practically 12,000 fatalities recorded within the two nations had been linked with the virus within the seven days as much as December 10.

The weekly Covid fatalities is the bottom determine recorded in two months, since 713 had been registered within the week to October 15.

These deaths — which embody any fatality the place the virus was talked about on the certificates — had been recorded within the two weeks after the primary Omicron infections had been recognized within the UK.

Covid deaths are the largest lagging indicator of developments in an infection charges, as a result of it takes three to 4 weeks for an contaminated particular person to die from the virus.

How lethal the surge in Omicron instances seems to be stays to be seen, with uncertainties about how extreme it’s or how effectively vaccines shield towards severe outcomes.

These key unknowns mixed with rising instances have put festive plans into doubt, regardless of the Prime Minister to this point holding off imposing additional Covid curbs earlier than Christmas.


Nevertheless, Mr Barclay advised LBC he had downsized the variety of relations at his personal Christmas celebrations this 12 months, with solely his in-laws attending.

He disclosed that Mr Sunak will give extra particulars of assist for companies later. 

‘The Chancellor was speaking to business leaders about this very concern final night time. We’ll say extra about this later immediately,’ he stated.

‘We recognise clearly we’re eager to maintain companies open and companies ought to proceed to plan for the bookings they’ve.

‘We completely recognise that by means of Plan B and the behaviour change there was an impression on these bookings.’ 

A number of ministers – together with Mr Sunak and Overseas Secretary Liz Truss – made clear they had been unwilling to again additional restrictions till there was higher info on the impression of Omicron.

Mr Sunak is known to have resisted measures that would value the economic system billions ‘off the again of knowledge that’s patchy’. Essentially the most vocal supporters of a robust response are believed to have been Communities Secretary Michael Gove and Well being Secretary Sajid Javid.

Afterwards Mr Johnson insisted the Authorities was monitoring the information ‘hour by hour’ and that the arguments for taking motion had been ‘very, very finely balanced’.

However he careworn there are nonetheless ‘uncertainties’ across the severity of the brand new pressure, in addition to the speed of hospital admissions related to it and its impression on vaccines.

He added: ‘Sadly I have to say to those that we should reserve the potential for taking additional motion to guard the general public, to guard public well being, to guard our NHS. We’re every kind of issues to maintain Omicron below management and we are going to rule nothing out.’

Ministers had been briefed on the digital Cupboard assembly by chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.

Ms Truss apparently demanded ministers got ‘actually thorough information’ earlier than approving curbs, and insisted there have to be ‘incontrovertible proof that we’d like extra restrictions’.

Different ministers voicing comparable issues included Mr Rees-Mogg, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack.

Ms Sturgeon immediately cancelled massive scale New 12 months celebrations in Scotland as she unveiled extra coronavirus restrictions to gradual the unfold of the Omicron variant.

The Scottish First Minister stated the recommendation for Christmas Day stays unchanged, with folks allowed to fulfill with household however urged to be cautious.

However from December 26 for 3 weeks there shall be attendance limits positioned on dwell public occasions which can torpedo Hogmanay occasions.

The bounds won’t apply to non-public life occasions like weddings, however Ms Sturgeon stated for indoor standing occasions the restrict shall be 100 folks, for indoor seated occasions it will likely be 200 and for outside occasions 500 seated or standing.

It will imply that from Boxing Day soccer and different sporting matches in Scotland will successfully be spectator-free.

Ms Sturgeon additionally stated that from December 27 the Scottish Authorities is advising folks to return to limiting their social contacts ‘as a lot as you probably can’ as she urged to nation to ‘please keep at dwelling’.

Ms Sturgeon appeared to fireplace a shot on the Prime Minister as she stated ‘we all know from expertise that if we wait till the information tells us conclusively that we have now an issue… it would already be too late to behave to keep away from that downside’. 

Deaths from coronavirus remain well below the levels from previous peaks, by scientists believe they could rise sharply

Deaths from coronavirus stay effectively under the degrees from earlier peaks, by scientists imagine they may rise sharply

A very quiet road in London's West End last night as people stay at home with just days to go until Christmas

A really quiet highway in London’s West Finish final night time as folks keep at dwelling with simply days to go till Christmas

Authorities borrowing got here in above expectations at £17.4billion – solely £4.9billion under final 12 months and the second highest on file

Graph shows London's daily Covid cases by date reported. It reveals they initially shot up when Omicron first emerged, but may now be stabalising despite predictions that infections are doubling every two to three days

Graph exhibits London’s each day Covid instances by date reported. It reveals they initially shot up when Omicron first emerged, however could now be stabalising regardless of predictions that infections are doubling each two to 3 days

The above graph shows Covid cases recorded in the UK by specimen date, which is the date that a test was carried out. It reveals 100,000 people who took swabs last Wednesday tested positive for the virus

The above graph exhibits Covid instances recorded within the UK by specimen date, which is the date {that a} take a look at was carried out. It reveals 100,000 individuals who took swabs final Wednesday examined optimistic for the virus

Covid isolation might be reduce to seven days 

Ministers are set to announce a significant shake-up of Covid guidelines by slashing the variety of self-isolation days to seven, in a bid to cease workers shortages grinding the nation to a halt this Christmas.

Authorities specialists are reportedly set to agree new recommendation which can see the self-isolation interval reduce by three days – convey it down from 10 days to seven.

Nevertheless these self-isolating might want to have destructive lateral movement assessments on day six and 7 as a way to be eligible for early launch.

It comes after epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson earlier this week backed the change, saying it will ‘not cut back the effectiveness of the measures that a lot’ if coupled with testing.

Well being Secretary Sajid Javid has additionally reportedly been pushing exhausting for the discount. An announcement is anticipated ‘imminently’.

A Cupboard supply stated: ‘There’s extra information approaching Wednesday, so that ought to make hopefully the image a bit clearer and choices simpler to make.’  

Tory former chief whip Mark Harper stated that ‘not telling the general public what is going on on is unacceptable’ as he stated ‘we are able to accomplish that significantly better than this’. 

SAGE social behaviour professional Stephen Reicher lashed out at Mr Johnson immediately, saying he had ‘caved in’ to lockdown-sceptic ministers and Tory MPs.

‘The arguments are very very finely balanced says ‘do nothing’ Johnson. On the one hand you’ve gotten a scientific consensus that present measures are insufficient and that motion is required now. You will have the NHS crying out in alarm. You will have companies crying out for assist,’ Prof Reicher stated. 

‘Then again you’ve gotten the best of the Tory Social gathering which threatens rise up. And the Prime Minister, who has misplaced political authority over his personal get together, simply as he has misplaced ethical authority over the nation, caves in to the latter That is not balanced It is utterly unhinged.’ 

Mr Johnson was below stress from his SAGE specialists to roll out additional curbs after they delivered dire warnings about what is going to occur if the PM fails to behave urgently. 

However different specialists immediately slammed as ‘fictitious’ projections of 6,000 each day Covid deaths and 10,000 hospitalisations this winter in a worst-case state of affairs. 

Coronavirus instances have additionally been across the 90,000 mark for 4 days now, after specialists predicted they’d double each two days. 

It has additionally emerged that ministers are contemplating slashing isolation for these with Covid from 10 days to seven days on account of fears Omicron will cripple the economic system.   

In keeping with Authorities modelling, as much as 2million folks might be catching the ultra-transmissible variant per day through the peak this winter.

There are rising fears it might push the nation right into a de facto lockdown with so many isolating with gentle sickness, even when hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.

Sources say the change in coverage is ‘being checked out’ and Well being Secretary Sajid Javid is regarded as wanting to shorten the isolation timeframe as hospitals and companies battle on account of absent staff.

The dearth of a remaining resolution by Mr Johnson on additional curbs means it now appears unlikely that additional restrictions shall be rolled out earlier than Christmas however there are mounting fears of a crackdown instantly after December 25. 

The PM has promised that MPs will get a vote on any extra guidelines however Parliament is now in recess and recalling the Home of Commons, holding a debate after which voting would take an estimated 48 hours. 

Saying curbs any later than immediately would due to this fact run the danger of individuals being advised to comply with new guidelines after they’ve already travelled to see household for Christmas. 

The Instances reported that Mr Johnson and the Cupboard delayed a call as a result of they weren’t but satisfied the newest Omicron information justified asserting new restrictions. 

Can we afford one other lockdown? Borrowing rises as economic system stalls 

The grim state of the general public funds was laid naked immediately because the Covid surge and Omicron variant hammers the economic system.

Authorities borrowing got here in above expectations at £17.4billion – solely £4.9billion under final 12 months and the second highest on file.

In the meantime, the nation’s debt pile had reached £2.32trillion by the top of the month – equal to 96.1 per cent of GDP, the worst ratio since 1963.

The grim image comes amid mounting fears that the resurgence of the virus has derailed the restoration. 

Nevertheless, the newspaper stated the Authorities might decide to impose a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown in England after Christmas, probably beginning on December 28. 

It was reported on Saturday that Whitehall officers had drawn up laws which might successfully re-impose ‘Step 2’ of the PM’s lockdown exit roadmap for 2 weeks.  

That will imply a ban on indoor socialising and a return of the rule of six for outside gatherings. Bars, pubs and eating places can be banned from serving folks indoors. 

The delay in Mr Johnson’s resolution on additional curbs prompted a break up throughout the Cupboard, with Sajid Javid warning ministers that no resolution was a call in itself. The Well being Secretary requested specialists to ‘kick the tyres’ of presidency modelling however they had been unable to reassure him that the variant is much less extreme, reviews the Instances.

However Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted that the general public must be trusted to make their very own choices as to how finest to guard themselves and the household, slightly than imposing extra restrictions. He additionally criticised SAGE modelling whereas saying that there was not sufficient proof to suggests new Covid measures had been mandatory. 

The Prime Minister convened the assembly of his prime group as he confronted a rising Cupboard revolt over potential additional Covid guidelines. 

The PM had been introduced with three choices to sort out the variant amid surging case numbers, with the bottom degree of intervention consisting of recommendation to restrict family mixing indoors, based on The Telegraph.

The second degree would see necessary restrictions on family mixing, the return of social distancing and an 8pm curfew for pubs and eating places whereas the third and hardest degree would see a return to one thing near a full lockdown. 

Mr Johnson is now contemplating his subsequent transfer, realizing that any resolution to tighten Covid guidelines will spark a livid Tory backlash. 

Downing Avenue at lunchtime refused to be drawn on the proposals that are reportedly into account, with the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman telling reporters: ‘At this level we’re nonetheless monitoring the information and preserving a really shut eye on it… we’d replace if any choices are taken.’

Boris Johnson (pictured in Downing Street today) has stepped back from imposing punitive lockdown curbs that would have ruined Christmas

Boris Johnson (pictured in Downing Avenue immediately) has stepped again from imposing punitive lockdown curbs that will have ruined Christmas

Specialists slam SAGE’s ‘fictitious’ doomsday state of affairs

Modelling by SAGE was immediately slammed as ‘fictitious’ after projecting 6,000 each day Covid deaths and 10,000 hospitalisations this winter in a worst-case state of affairs. 

In recommendation to ministers printed this weekend, the Authorities’s scientific advisers stated there might be astronomical casualty numbers with out extra ‘stringent measures’. 

SAGE’s modelling group on the London Faculty of Hygiene and Tropical Drugs discovered there might be 10,400 hospitalisations in England per day on the peak of the outbreak in February in a worst-case state of affairs.

They assumed that Omicron will proceed to develop exponentially even below Plan B curbs, two jabs provide simply 50 per cent safety towards extreme illness from the mutant pressure and boosters simply 80 per cent. 

The 6,000 deaths a day determine was calculated by Warwick College scientists and made equally pessimistic assumptions about vaccine effectiveness, in addition to that present curbs cut back transmission by simply 20 per cent . 

If each of those predictions had been to come back true, it will imply that 60 per cent of people that get admitted for Covid within the coming months will die.

By comparability, on the peak final January there have been on common 4,000 admissions a day and 1,300 deaths giving a hospital-fatality price of 32.5 per cent. Warwick stated it factored in ‘excessive stress’ placed on the NHS by Omicron. 

The worst-case situations had been introduced regardless of 48.8 per cent of over-12s being boosted, 81 per cent being double-jabbed, and reviews from South Africa that the mutant pressure is milder.  

Crucially, the modellers didn’t have a look at any state of affairs wherein Omicron causes milder illness than Delta or if folks begin to change their behaviour within the coming weeks in response to the variant.  

SAGE’s chief modeller Professor Graham Medley from LSHTM revealed this weekend that the committee doesn’t think about optimistic situations as a result of ‘that does not get choices made’. 

An ex-Authorities scientist who wished to stay nameless immediately advised MailOnline that the numbers are ‘fictitious’, including: ‘Fashions must simplify the world to foretell the long run, however clearly that is an absurd futureThey stated the doomsday situations had been corresponding to ‘science fiction’, including: ‘However we do not are likely to query it as a result of we worship numbers’.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of evidence-based drugs at Oxford College and a GP, stated this morning that ‘we’re in deep, deep hassle of probably speaking ourselves into annual lockdowns’ as he argued the query must be ‘when are we going to deal with folks like adults?’. 

However Stephen Reicher, professor of psychology on the College of St Andrews and a member of presidency advisory physique the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (Spi-B), stated ‘we have to cut back our contacts’.

Requested about Christmas, he stated: ‘The most secure factor is to not meet up earlier than Christmas. If you would like a very good Christmas dinner, I might say be very cautious about assembly up earlier than Christmas.’ 

Not less than 10 Cupboard ministers are stated to be resisting additional curbs as a result of they’ve issues in regards to the accuracy of professional modelling on the unfold of Omicron. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is likely one of the ministers to have expressed issues in regards to the projected numbers, based on The Instances, after SAGE warned there might be 3,000 sufferers a day in want of hospital remedy with out pressing motion. 

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Authorities’s Chief Scientific Adviser, advised the Cupboard on a name on Saturday that curbs must be rolled out as quickly as doable however one third of senior ministers are stated to be towards the transfer.  

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab this morning refused to rule out extra restrictions earlier than Christmas Day as he stated he couldn’t make ‘exhausting, quick ensures’. He stated the Authorities is aiming to take ‘knowledgeable choices and naturally we need to take them earlier slightly than later’. 

Tory MPs final night time stated any try and toughen guidelines earlier than Christmas will provoke letters looking for to oust Mr Johnson as get together chief.  

The warnings got here simply 24 hours after Lord Frost, to date a detailed ally of Mr Johnson, dramatically give up as Brexit Minister slating ‘coercive’ Covid curbs and excessive taxes.  

Lord Frost walked out with a parting shot on the ‘path of journey’ and saying he had hoped the top of lockdown can be ‘irreversible’. His departure was described as a ‘watershed second’ in what had been a particularly damaging week for Mr Johnson.

At this time’s coronavirus statistics confirmed there had been an additional 91,743 lab-confirmed Covid-19 instances within the UK as of 9am this morning. The Authorities stated an additional 44 folks had died. 

The UK Well being Safety Company (UKHSA) stated there had been 8,044 extra confirmed instances of the Omicron variant, bringing the whole confirmed instances of the variant within the UK to 45,145.   

Households are determined to spend Christmas collectively after final 12 months’s Covid lockdown guidelines meant thousands and thousands had been compelled to be aside or severely cut back their celebrations.

It’s understood Mr Johnson is resisting requires restrictions forward of December 25, however there are mounting fears they are going to be imposed after that, spoiling New 12 months plans for thousands and thousands. 

Sajid Javid yesterday repeatedly declined to rule out imposing powerful restrictions earlier than Christmas as he warned there are ‘no ensures’ Christmas Day will go forward with out a lockdown. 

The Well being Secretary acknowledged that information in regards to the Omicron variant remained incomplete – however steered it is perhaps essential to make choices earlier than a full image is offered.  

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, told the Cabinet during a call on Saturday that hospital admissions in England could reach 3,000 a day unless further curbs are introduced

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Authorities’s Chief Scientific Adviser, advised the Cupboard throughout a name on Saturday that hospital admissions in England might attain 3,000 a day except additional curbs are launched

In different coronavirus developments:  

Mark Harper, chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs, urged ministers to 'hold firm' against more restrictions and not make any 'knee-jerk restrictions'

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said there was 'no evidence' for restrictions to be brought in ahead of Christmas

Mark Harper (left), chairman of the Covid Restoration Group of lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs, has urged ministers to ‘maintain agency’ towards extra restrictions and never make any ‘knee-jerk restrictions’. In the meantime former Tory chief Sir Iain Duncan Smith (proper) stated there was ‘no proof’ for restrictions to be introduced in forward of Christmas