Boris Johnson will determine next week whether new coronavirus restrictions are imposed to limit indoor socialising. The Prime Minister stated that this is likely to become a challenge in the weeks ahead. 

According to The Times, Johnson will make a decision on whether or not to ban indoor mixing in England within the first week.

Although the Prime Minister chose not to place new restrictions between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, rising Covid cases are raising concerns that additional measures may be in store. 

Another 189.213 coronavirus-related cases were reported in the UK yesterday, a new high. In England, however 11,452 Covid patients have been admitted to hospital. That’s a 61% increase in one week.

In his New Year’s Eve message, Johnson stated that thanks to vaccine rollouts, the country’s situation in fighting the disease has improved ‘incomparably’.  

This came just as NHS leaders warned that the Government “needs be ready to implement tighter restrictions at a real speed should they become necessary”. 

Chris Hopson of NHS Providers said new curbs may be necessary if the evidence warrants. His comments came as health bosses still don’t know if there will a spike in elderly hospitalisations that could cause Mr Johnson to take action. 

A Government scientist advisor today said that the Omicron variant could overwhelm the NHS. 

Professor Peter Openshaw sits on Government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group. 

Scots going to England to celebrate NYE are urged by the Scottish Government to refrain from attending large-scale events

Today, the Scottish Government issued an ultimatum to Scots asking them to refrain from large-scale New Years Eve celebrations. English pubs are expecting thousands of revellers crossing the border to enjoy this night. 

Nicola Sturgeon advised everyone to avoid large Hogmanay celebrations, and that they should limit their socialising. 

However, many Scots may travel to England in order to get around the coronavirus restrictions and see the New Year. 

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland today urged all Scots not to follow the Scottish Government’s lead. 

According to him, people should be encouraged to limit socialising as Omicron is spreading’very, very broadly within our society’. It ‘poses an imminent threat’ to the rest of us. 

Groups of excited Scots were pictured yesterday arriving in Newcastle, Blackpool and London to celebrate New Year’s Eve and go to football matches with more expected to follow suit today. 

Last week, Ms. Sturgeon had announced that Hogmanay celebrations would be banned. She decided to keep it in place earlier this week.

In order to “avoid overwhelming cases”, the First Minister stated that it was prudent and necessary to act to decrease the transmission. 

She has urged people to reduce their contacts with other households and to ‘limit the size of any indoor social gatherings that do take place so that they don’t include people from any more than three households’.

Similar restrictions are in place for socializing in Wales. Experts predict that as many as 100,000 revellers from both Wales and Scotland could travel across the border to enjoy this night.

In England there aren’t any such restrictions. People are encouraged to do a Covid before heading to parties. 

Swinney was asked by the Scottish Government why they were not ready to allow people to be tested prior to celebrating. 

He said this to BBC Radio 4’s Today:We trust our people, and encourage them to do the same.

‘But we have also asked people to limit their social contact because we can see from all of the data that you have just recounted that Omicron is spreading very, very widely within our society.

‘It poses a serious threat to us, we can see hospitalisation levels are increasing… so at a time when I recognise all of the sentiments that were set out in the clip that you have just played, I recognise all of those traditions, I have been part of them, I value them, I appreciate them, I love them, it is part of who we are.

‘But unfortunately this time around we have to apply some constraints on the level of social interaction we have to protect others.’

Here are the most recent coronavirus development:  

  • Dr Azeemmajeed, Head of Primary Health at Imperial College London said that NHS workers struggle to access Covid-19 test results and the Government should prioritize key workers when dispensing them. 
  • Andrew Lane, Chairman of National Pharmacy Association, stated that although more lateral flow test are being sent to pharmacies, the supply is “still very patchy”. 
  • Chairman of the British Medical Association’s Coronavirus Council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that there is growing concern about the “significant increase” in coronavirus-infected patients. 
  • Prof Openshaw claimed that Omicron has ‘become so infectious that you only need to breath in infected air for it to become infected.’ 
  • A total of 4,580 NHS staff at hospital trusts in London were absent for Covid-19 reasons on December 26, up 18 per cent on the previous week (3,874) and nearly four times the number at the start of the month (1,174), according to new figures from NHS England.
  • Last ditch appeal by the Scottish Government to Scots not to go to large-scale New Years Eve parties was made by the Scottish Government. 

England currently has a ‘Plan B” restriction. People are told to use face masks indoors and work at home. 

Johnson, however, did not adopt the same rules as Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland after Christmas. Instead, all three devolved governments put into place restrictions on socializing. 

Thousands of revellers, including those from Scotland and Wales, are expected to travel across the border to England today in order to celebrate New Year’s Eve at clubs and pubs throughout England. 

Next week the PM is likely to decide whether to restrict indoor mixing in England.  

Mr Johnson said in his New Year’s Eve message: ‘Happy New Year, 2022 is almost upon us. 

“And no matter what challenges fate throws at us, or any anxieties that we might have over the coming weeks and months, especially about Omicron, the increasing number of hospitals and their patients, one thing is certain – this December 31st, our situation is unsurpassed.

As he celebrated the vaccination rollout, the PM stated that there is a ‘one fundamental reason’ why the UK was able to keep the largest open economy and society in Europe. 

He said, “That’s because the British people responded heroically and voluntarily to the call for vaccinations,’

‘And, as I speak tonight at New Year’s Eve, our target has been met, we’ve doubled speed of booster rollout.

“And that’s exactly why we are able to celebrate tonight. However, I urge you to exercise caution and take a breath test before ventilating. You must follow these rules, whether you are in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Johnson made a plea for people living in Britain who have not been vaccinated yet to go forward and receive the vaccine. 

He stated, “The people that think they can’t get sick from it – take a look at those who are admitted to the hospital today, that could possibly be you.” 

“Look at those in intensive care and their miserable suffering. That could be you.

“So make this your new year’s resolution. It’s much easier than losing weight and keeping track of your diary. Find a local walk-in clinic or book an appointment online. Give it a try and make 2022 a great year.

While NHS bosses claimed that the Government has yet to meet the threshold necessary for new coronavirus restriction, PM’s remarks warned ministers they should be prepared to respond if it does.

M. Hopson stated to BBC Radio 4’s Today that “Look, it is not the NHS that makes the restrictions rules. And we all know that the Government set a very high limit for the introduction of new restrictions.

“So, trust leaders will be able to see the reason why the Government claims that the threshold is still not crossed despite the presence of an increase of older seriously ill patients.

“But we still do not know if it will happen and in fact we are talking about preparations for the surge that we have made right now.” 

Hopson indicated that there will be restrictions if necessary.

He stated that restrictions are at the exact same point as they were for the past fortnight. The Government should be prepared to implement tighter restrictions quickly if necessary. 

Daily Covid admission in London have risen again, with 456 newly-infected patients placed on wards on December 28. This is the second day in a row admissions been above the crucial 400-a-day threshold that Government advisers warned could trigger nationwide intervention

London Daily Covid admissions rose again on December 28, with 456 patients infected by the virus being transferred to hospital wards. This is the second day in a row admissions been above the crucial 400-a-day threshold that Government advisers warned could trigger nationwide intervention

“This headline states that NHS leaders feel there’s no need to increase curbs. If the evidence supports it, they may be necessary at a faster pace.

“It takes about two weeks for new restrictions to affect hospital admissions. The pattern for hospital admissions in the following fortnight will have already been established.

“So we should apply restrictions at a pace that suits us, but leaders of trust understand the reason why the government has established a high threshold. However, that threshold is still not reached.”  

Professor Openshaw stated that Omicron is most likely to overwhelm the NHS.

He said: ‘I think we haven’t quite reached the threshold that was set by Government in terms of the NHS being overwhelmed, but it looks like that will be reached quite quickly.

“What worries me most is the NHS staff. These are my beloved colleagues, who have been so dedicated to their work through this virus. They will have to deal with this.

“We should really reach out to them and offer every support to make the NHS an amazing place to work. This is a fact, although I have deep concerns for the health of the NHS staff.”