Boris Johnson final evening stepped again from imposing punitive lockdown curbs that will have ruined Christmas.

In a prolonged Cupboard assembly yesterday, a number of ministers are stated to have referred to as for ‘incontrovertible proof’ on the Omicron variant earlier than signing off on any additional measures.

Cupboard sources stated it was now ‘virtually sure’ that recent restrictions wouldn’t be introduced in earlier than December 25.

However fears are rising that after Christmas completely different households might be banned from socialising indoors – and pubs and eating places compelled to serve outdoors – spoiling New 12 months for tens of millions of households.

With plans for the two-week ‘circuit breaker’ nonetheless stated to be on the desk, Mr Johnson final evening warned he needed to ‘reserve the chance’ of additional restrictions to regulate the unfold of Omicron. Nevertheless he admitted the info was not clear sufficient to justify motion now.

The Prime Minister 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 lift the specter of Christmas being ‘cancelled’ for a second yr.

In forecasts leaked over the weekend, the Sage skilled committee warned that with out fast motion every day deaths may hit 6,000 within the worst case – and hospital admissions 10,000.

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

At yesterday’s Cupboard, a number of ministers – together with the Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Overseas Secretary Liz Truss – made clear they have been unwilling to again additional restrictions till there was higher info on the affect of Omicron.

Mr Sunak was understood to have resisted measures that might price the economic system billions ‘off the again of information that’s patchy’. Different sources questioned how a lot ministers had spoken out in opposition to new curbs, which Communities Secretary Michael Gove was stated to favour.

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

However after his ministers failed to come back to an settlement, the Prime Minister stated there have been nonetheless ‘uncertainties’ across the severity of the brand new pressure, in addition to the speed of hospital admissions related to it and its affect on vaccines.

He added: ‘Sadly I have to say to those who 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 all types of issues to maintain Omicron underneath management and we are going to rule nothing out.’

In different developments final evening:

  • The NHS gave one million Covid jabs in a single day for the primary time;
  • A booster of the Moderna vaccine will increase antibodies in opposition to Omicron by 37-fold, its makers stated;
  • One other 91,743 circumstances have been confirmed though deaths fell to 44 and hospital admissions continued to drop;
  • Ministers have been stated to be apprehensive by an increase in Covid sufferers in London;
  • Nicola Sturgeon gave Scots the inexperienced mild for his or her Christmas Day plans;
  • London’s New 12 months’s Eve celebration occasion in Trafalgar Sq. was axed;
  • The ‘lockdown by stealth’ compelled main vacationer sights, pubs and eating places to shut down;
  • Hospitality bosses referred to as on Mr Sunak to ‘get his act collectively’ and supply help for the embattled sector;
  • A high GP backed calls to slash the quarantine interval for coronavirus circumstances from ten to seven days;
  • The hunt was on for a Whitehall insider suspected of leaking an image of the PM and officers within the No 10 backyard;
  • Households who misplaced family members within the pandemic condemned the image, taken throughout final yr’s lockdown.
Boris Johnson last night stepped back from imposing punitive lockdown curbs that would have ruined Christmas

Boris Johnson final evening stepped again from imposing punitive lockdown curbs that will have ruined Christmas

Cabinet sources said it was now 'almost certain' that fresh restrictions would not be brought in before December 25. Pictured: Revellers enjoyed a festive night out in Newcastle on Thursday

Cupboard sources stated it was now ‘virtually sure’ that recent restrictions wouldn’t be introduced in earlier than December 25. Pictured: Revellers loved a festive evening out in Newcastle on Thursday

What was in Step 2 of Boris Johnson’s authentic lockdown exit street map? 

The Authorities may choose to impose a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown in England after Christmas, based on studies. 

Ministers and officers have apparently pencilled in December 28 because the potential date to set off the brand new curbs. 

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

It’s unclear which components of ‘Step 2’ might be included however a crackdown on indoor social contact is considered because the most probably transfer. 

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

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

Curbs on hospitality: Bars, pubs and eating places have been closed indoors however may serve folks open air the place the rule of six utilized.  

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

Home journey: Folks have been suggested to minimise journey as a lot as attainable. 

Training: Early years settings, colleges and faculties have been open for all college students.     

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

Miss Truss was regarded as demanding ministers got ‘actually thorough knowledge’ earlier than approving curbs, and insisted there have to be ‘incontrovertible proof that we’d like extra restrictions’.

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

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

Following the Cupboard assembly, Mr Johnson delayed making a closing determination on imposing new coronavirus curbs.   

The failure to achieve a agency determination on curbs sparked a Tory backlash as MPs demanded the PM inform the nation if folks can safely go forward with their festive plans.  

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 a lot better than this’. 

Mr Johnson was underneath stress from his SAGE consultants 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 consultants at present slammed as ‘fictitious’ projections of 6,000 every day Covid deaths and 10,000 hospitalisations this winter in a worst-case situation. 

Coronavirus circumstances have additionally been across the 90,000 mark for 4 days now, after consultants predicted they might double each two days. 

The shortage of a closing determination on additional curbs means it now appears unlikely that additional restrictions might 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 further 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. 

Asserting curbs any later than at present would subsequently run the danger of individuals being advised to observe new guidelines after they’ve already travelled to see household for Christmas. 

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

Nevertheless, the newspaper stated the Authorities may choose 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 out of doors gatherings. Bars, pubs and eating places can be banned from serving folks indoors.   

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

The PM had been offered with three choices to deal with 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 obligatory 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 determination 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 info and retaining a really shut eye on it… we might replace if any choices are taken.’

Boris Johnson has been presented with three options to slow the spread of the Omicron variant with the PM reportedly clearing his diary today for crunch meetings with scientists and advisers

Boris Johnson has been offered with three choices to sluggish the unfold of the Omicron variant with the PM reportedly clearing his diary at present for crunch conferences with scientists and advisers

Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary, today refused to rule out more curbs being introduced before Christmas

Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary, at present refused to rule out extra curbs being launched earlier than Christmas

Dominic Raab defends PM over No10 lockdown snap insisting workers have been ‘utilizing the backyard for WORK’ as a result of they have been ‘all sporting fits’

Dominic Raab at present defended Boris Johnson and his spouse Carrie after they have been pictured within the Downing Avenue backyard at a desk of cheese and wine with as much as 17 folks close by throughout lockdown when solely two folks have been allowed to socialize outdoors.

The Prime Minister and his spouse have been seen sitting at a desk with two folks whereas one other 13 have been pictured with bottles of alcohol close by at a desk and on the garden on Friday Might 15, 2020.

However Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab stated at present that having a drink ‘after a protracted day or lengthy week’ was not in opposition to the laws when requested concerning the picture – and identified that Mr Johnson was sporting a go well with.

Mr Raab advised Instances Radio: ‘Downing Avenue used that backyard as a administrative center. They used it for work conferences. The picture is from a day when, I believe, the Prime Minister had simply carried out a press convention.

‘And typically they will have a drink after a protracted day or a protracted week. And that is not in opposition to the laws.’

The image, obtained by The Guardian, raises severe questions over Downing Avenue’s repeated claims {that a} ‘work assembly’ was going down on the time – as a substitute of a social occasion involving wine, spirits and pizza inside and out of doors. 

On Mr Johnson’s then-fiancee Carrie being there, Mr Raab added: ‘It’s not only a administrative center for all of the workers that work in Quantity 10 and the Prime Minister, however it’s also the the residence of the Prime Minister and his very younger household. I genuinely do not suppose it will get categorized as a celebration as a result of Carrie popped down and spent a little bit little bit of time there together with her husband.’ 

Mr Raab additionally advised Sky Information that the backyard was ‘used for work’, including: ‘They’re all in fits, predominantly in formal apparel.’ When questioned over this by presenter Kay Burley, he stated: ‘I believe a lot of them… to be trustworthy with you… the Prime Minister in a go well with, the officers there… A few of them have taken their jackets off.’ 

In Might final yr, the UK was in lockdown which meant solely two folks from completely different households have been allowed to fulfill outdoors – and so they have to be at a distance of two metres. 

No10 had denied final week that there was a social occasion on 15 Might 2020 – and as a substitute a spokesperson stated Downing Avenue workers have been working within the backyard within the afternoon and night. 

However the {photograph} exhibits three teams of individuals – together with Mr and Mrs Johnson – with bottles of wine and alcohol on their tables. 

The revelation has heaped additional stress on the Prime Minister who’s accused of ‘haemorrhaging public belief’, with 51 per cent of Conservative voters in 2019 now believing he’s dishonest.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of evidence-based medication at Oxford College and a GP, stated this morning that ‘we’re in deep, deep hassle of doubtless 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. In order for you an excellent Christmas dinner, I might say be very cautious about assembly up earlier than Christmas.’ 

No less than 10 Cupboard ministers are stated to be resisting additional curbs as a result of they’ve issues concerning the accuracy of skilled modelling on the unfold of Omicron. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is among the ministers to have expressed issues concerning the projected numbers, based on The Instances, after SAGE warned there might be 3,000 sufferers a day in want of hospital therapy 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 attainable however one third of senior ministers are stated to be in opposition to the transfer.  

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

Tory MPs final evening stated any try to toughen guidelines earlier than Christmas will provoke letters searching for to oust Mr Johnson as celebration chief.  

The warnings got here simply 24 hours after Lord Frost, to this point 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 tip of lockdown can be ‘irreversible’. His departure was described as a ‘watershed second’ in what had been a particularly damaging week for Mr Johnson.

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

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

Households are determined to spend Christmas collectively after final yr’s Covid lockdown guidelines meant tens of millions have 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 tens of millions. 

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 no lockdown. 

The Well being Secretary acknowledged that knowledge concerning the Omicron variant remained incomplete – however urged it is perhaps essential to make choices earlier than a full image is out there.  

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 may attain 3,000 a day except additional curbs are launched

In different coronavirus developments: 

  • The operator of the Actual Greek and Franco Manca restaurant chains has urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to announce additional help for companies ‘within the subsequent 24 hours’. 
  • Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves stated that companies want extra help to get them by the troublesome months forward. 
  • Patricia Marquis, England director on the Royal School of Nursing, stated it’s wanting like a ‘very bleak image’ for nursing workers over the following few weeks. 
  • Professor Carl Heneghan, director of evidence-based medication at Oxford College and a GP, stated ‘we’re in deep, deep hassle of doubtless speaking ourselves into annual lockdowns’. 
  • Mr Raab stated 12 folks have now died with the Omicron variant however couldn’t say what number of of these have been vaccinated. 
  • Staffing shortages at BA – blamed on Covid and self-isolation guidelines – have precipitated pre-Christmas journey ‘chaos’ at Heathrow Airport. 
  • Enterprise leaders warned that hospitality companies want help ‘within the subsequent 24 hours’ as venues put together to close their doorways within the face of dwindling buyer numbers, with morning rush-hour site visitors in London falling to its lowest degree for the reason that third coronavirus lockdown started.
  • Sir Keir Starmer stated Labour is able to help additional public well being measures to curb the unfold of the Omicron variant if they’re required.

Talking after at present’s Cupboard assembly, Mr Johnson stated ministers had ‘agreed that the scenario is extraordinarily troublesome and the arguments both means are very, very finely balanced’ as he urged folks to get their booster jab. 

He stated: ‘In view of the steadiness of dangers and uncertainties, significantly across the an infection hospitalisation price of Omicron, how many individuals does Omicron put into hospital… and another uncertainties to do with severity and booster effectiveness and so forth, we agreed that we must always hold the info any longer underneath fixed evaluate, hold following it hour by hour.

‘And sadly I have to say to folks we should reserve the potential for taking additional motion to guard the general public and to guard public well being and to guard our NHS.

‘We cannot hesitate to take that motion. However within the meantime what I might say to all people is please train warning as you go about your lives.’

Requested if he may assure that there might be no further restrictions imposed earlier than Christmas, Mr Johnson stated: ‘I can actually say that we’re all types of issues to maintain Omicron underneath management and we are going to rule nothing out.

‘However in the meanwhile what I believe we wish folks to give attention to is exercising warning, so air flow, masks within the acceptable locations, the same old stuff about washing palms, however keep in mind how contagious Omicron actually is.’ 

Mr Raab was grilled this morning on whether or not folks will be capable of get pleasure from a ‘nice Christmas’ or in the event that they face having plans disrupted by new coronavirus restrictions. 

The Deputy PM advised Sky Information: ‘I believe we could have a a lot better Christmas than final yr due to the vaccination degree, each the general vaccination degree, significantly the affect of the booster marketing campaign and we noticed on Saturday simply on someday 900,000 folks get their booster.

‘And I do consider course, you will have heard it from the Well being Secretary over the weekend, I might echo that folks will should be cautious and cautious.

‘However I do suppose that once more, topic to the info and it’s all the time underneath evaluate, that we’re in a greater place to get pleasure from Christmas with family members this yr.’

Pushed on whether or not there might be any extra curbs imposed between now and Christmas Day, Mr Raab stated: ‘I simply cannot make onerous, quick ensures as a result of I as I stated we observe…’

He added: ‘There’s two issues. To start with, we’re in a a lot completely different place, we’re in a a lot stronger place due to the resilience of our communities due to the excessive take up of the vaccine, that’s one thing that has gone very nicely, not simply the general vaccine price however the booster and we actually are supercharging that by to the tip of this month and thru Christmas so that provides us an additional layer of resilience.

‘The principles as they presently are are the perfect mitigation technique that we now have acquired however in fact there’s this time lag within the knowledge.

‘We all know Omicron is spreading quick, we do not but know the severity and we’re reliant on seeing that knowledge come by and it comes by day-to-day.’

Mr Raab was requested if he is among the 10 Cupboard ministers opposing the SAGE modelling on the unfold of Omicron and he replied: ‘We all the time, all of us, query the recommendation and I do not suppose that must be offered in some type of tectonic opposition to the scientists.

‘The scientists will let you know that they’re continually testing the proof and the recommendation amongst themselves, not to mention with politicians.

‘So it’s fairly proper that we get the steadiness proper.’

Mr Raab was later requested on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme if folks may face a repeat of final yr when guidelines have been modified on the final minute. 

He replied: ‘There are completely different views on this. We’ve got heard what the scientists have stated… what we’re doing is we’re monitoring it hour by hour, day-to-day.

‘We have to see how extreme Omicron is after which we can take knowledgeable choices and naturally we need to take them earlier relatively than later.’

Well being Secretary Mr Javid echoed the same sentiment on new curbs yesterday as he advised the BBC’s Andrew Marr Present that ‘there are not any ensures on this pandemic’.

He stated: ‘At this level we simply should hold every thing underneath evaluate… We’re assessing the scenario. It’s extremely fast paced. There’s lots that we nonetheless do not find out about Omicron. That is the reality of the matter. The truth is there’s loads of uncertainty.’

He argued that it was ‘time to be extra cautious’, including: ‘We all know this factor is spreading quickly.’

In minutes revealed on the weekend, consultants from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) urged the Authorities to reintroduce ‘extra stringent measures… very quickly’, warning that with out motion, there might be a peak of three,000 sufferers a day needing a hospital mattress in England.

The scientists urged reintroducing of curbs corresponding to banning indoor social contact and hospitality. Mr Javid stated the recommendation was ‘very sobering’, including: ‘We take it very critically. We do should problem knowledge and underlying assumptions, I believe that’s acceptable, and take into consideration a broader set of details.’

Specialists slam SAGE’s ‘fictitious’ doomsday situation as No10’s chief modeller admits group would not do optimistic estimates as a result of ‘that does not get choices made’ 

Modelling by SAGE was at present slammed as ‘fictitious’ after projecting 6,000 every day Covid deaths and 10,000 hospitalisations this winter in a worst-case situation. 

In recommendation to ministers revealed 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 situation.

They assumed that Omicron will proceed to develop exponentially even underneath Plan B curbs, two jabs supply simply 50 per cent safety in opposition to 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 have been to come back true, it might 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 have been offered regardless of 48.8 per cent of over-12s being boosted, 81 per cent being double-jabbed, and studies from South Africa that the mutant pressure is milder.  

Crucially, the modellers didn’t have a look at any situation during which 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 contemplate optimistic situations as a result of ‘that does not get choices made’. 

An ex-Authorities scientist who wished to stay nameless at present advised MailOnline that the numbers are ‘fictitious’, including: ‘Fashions should simplify the world to foretell the longer term, however clearly that is an absurd futureThey stated the doomsday situations have been akin to ‘science fiction’, including: ‘However we do not are likely to query it as a result of we worship numbers’.

The Well being Secretary urged folks ought to restrict their social contact over Christmas and restrict hugs with kinfolk.

The Prime Minister has been offered with three choices to deal with the unfold of the virus, based on the Each day Telegraph.

The paper reported that they vary from steerage asking folks to restrict indoor contacts, to guidelines on family mixing, social distancing and a curfew on pubs and eating places, and thirdly a full lockdown. Mr Johnson is known to favour probably the most ‘mild contact’ possibility.

One Cupboard minister advised the newspaper that knowledge offered by Sir Patrick and England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty on Saturday was ‘simply trashed by the Cupboard’.

The supply stated: ‘There might be no extra restrictions introduced in by the backdoor. That will be deadly. Extra tips relatively than restrictions are fully attainable.’ 

‘It’s steerage however not laws on family mixing,’ a Authorities supply stated, including ‘The third tier is the heaviest protecting every thing as much as and together with lockdown. On the idea of the info, there are some who consider we may fairly simply justify locking down earlier than Christmas.’

Cupboard sources final evening characterised the temper in Downing Avenue as ‘jumpy’. Senior ministers consider Mr Johnson will maintain off on imposing restrictions till after Christmas, however count on they might be introduced inside days.   

The Prime Minister has promised to recall Parliament over the festive interval so MPs can maintain a vote if he decides to herald new curbs.

Questions have been raised about whether or not Mr Johnson even has the political capital to push by restrictions, after a large revolt in opposition to Plan B final week and the bombshell resignation of his Brexit minister Lord Frost, highlighting the hazard of ‘coercive’ insurance policies.  

Round one third of the Cupboard are stated to be reluctant to help new restrictions within the coming days, with Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak amongst them, based on The Instances.

No less than 10 ministers are resisting a name by Sir Patrick on the weekend for brand new restrictions to be introduced in as quickly as attainable to forestall the well being service being overwhelmed. 

Mark Harper, chairman of the Covid Restoration Group of lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs, urged ministers to ‘maintain agency’ in opposition to extra restrictions and never make any ‘knee-jerk restrictions’.

He stated: ‘Lockdowns, of any form, mustn’t turn into the default coverage alternative. Ministers must steadiness wider impacts, not simply Covid knowledge.’ 

Former Tory chief Sir Iain Duncan Smith stated there was ‘no proof’ for restrictions to be introduced in forward of Christmas.

‘It will be flawed for the Authorities to lurch into what can be an financial disaster for the sake of supposition by scientists,’ he added. 

One of many Tory insurgent ringleaders stated if Parliament was recalled to vote on imposing new curbs ‘not less than as many people that voted in opposition to final time will accomplish that once more. If restrictions are put in place then extra letters will go in.’  

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, urged ministers to ‘maintain agency’ in opposition to 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

A busy Oxford Street and Regent Street in central London on the last shopping Sunday before Christmas

A busy Oxford Avenue and Regent Avenue in central London on the final procuring Sunday earlier than Christmas

In interviews this morning, Well being Secretary Sajid Javid stated the federal government has to make use of the ‘knowledge that we now have acquired’ and infections have been rising shortly 

Covid workers shortages grind Britain to a halt: Now GMB axes dwell exhibits between Christmas and New 12 months, BA passengers face baggage chaos and cancelled flights, and Edinburgh Citadel and Pure Historical past Museum CLOSE

Covid workers shortages are at present bringing Britain to a grinding halt, sparking large disruption for airline passengers, shutting key sights and taking one of many nation’s best-known TV exhibits off air. 

Staffing shortages at BA – blamed on Covid and self-isolation guidelines – have at present precipitated pre-Christmas journey ‘chaos’ at Heathrow Airport.

The shortages, mixed with weather-enforced delays, have resulted in cancelled flights, queues on the border and a sea of stranded baggage strewn throughout baggage reclaim.

It comes as London’s Pure Historical past Museum and Edinburgh Citadel have each needed to shut because of a surge in Covid circumstances amongst workers.

And at present, in an unprecedented transfer, ITV revealed its flagship present Good Morning Britain has been cancelled between Christmas and New 12 months. 

Bosses of the channel say there might be no episodes aired of the breakfast present between Wednesday, December 29 and Friday, December 31 ‘because of the pandemic’.

A string of West Finish exhibits, together with the Lion King, Depraved and Moulin Rouge! have additionally been compelled to cancel pre-Christmas performances because of Covid, with forged and crew members testing optimistic in current days.

The UK’s staffing shortages come as ministers are at present contemplating slashing the quarantine interval for individuals who take a look at optimistic for Covid from ten to seven days. 

Well being consultants, MPs and enterprise leaders have referred to as for a change, warning that the present guidelines threat crippling healthcare and the economic system.  

One Cupboard minister stated they might resign if Mr Johnson launched one other full lockdown to cease the unfold of the virus.

A supply advised The Each day Telegraph that returning to lockdown was a ‘pink line’ after the Prime Minister has stated the earlier easing of restrictions was ‘irreversible’. A senior Tory MP additionally warned there can be an ‘eruption’ on the backbenches if new measures have been launched. 

Mr Sunak, Overseas Secretary Liz Truss, Enterprise Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Jacob Rees-Mogg are all understood to be in opposition to additional restrictions, with one minister telling the newspaper: ‘The Cupboard aren’t stomaching any extra restrictions proper now.’   

Mr Johnson can also be understood to be reluctant to implement additional restrictions earlier than Christmas. One ally advised The Instances: ‘He is of the view that persons are self-policing to an extent and getting boosted in huge numbers.’

A Cupboard minister stated that there can be a backlash if Mr Johnson adopted a ban on households mixing and the closure of non-essential outlets.  

‘The Cupboard aren’t stomaching any extra restrictions proper now,’ a Cupboard minister advised The Telegraph. ‘Aside from the fanatics, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid, the remainder of them are fairly wise, together with the PM.’

Whereas the PM has promised to recall Parliament so MPs can maintain a vote if he decides to herald new curbs, Bob Blackman, government secretary of the 1922 Committee, stated he believed the specter of one other Tory revolt would imply Mr Johnson wouldn’t dare even put additional restrictions to a vote. 

Mr Blackman advised The Telegraph: ‘In the event that they thought that they had an issue getting the final restrictions by, you’ll be able to think about what is going to occur if they arrive again for an additional go. The temper of colleagues is: ‘Sufficient is sufficient’.

‘Ministers have gotten into the behavior of considering that they’ve a proper to intrude in folks’s household lives and livelihoods. They haven’t any such proper.

‘What’s extra, the toll by way of psychological well being, delayed therapy for different circumstances and the catastrophic penalties for companies, already exhibits this failed strategy does extra hurt than good. If ministers took just a few days off over Christmas, we might all have one thing to have fun.’

Britain yesterday recorded 82,886 Covid circumstances, which is decrease than Saturday’s determine of 90,418. 

However the variety of circumstances has risen by 32,473, or 64.4 per cent, in seven days. 

Some 45 deaths have been recorded yesterday, a lower of 66 from final week’s 111 and a share lower of 59.5. 

And circumstances of the Omicron variant have risen by 50 per cent in simply 24 hours to 37,101 because the UK Well being Safety Company confirmed an extra 12,133 circumstances at present. 

Medical and science chiefs Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick briefed the Cupboard yesterday that extra measures are required to cease hospital admissions hovering above 3,000 per day in England. 

Modelling suggests the height might be as excessive as 10,000 and the every day dying toll would possibly attain 6,000.

Nevertheless, there’s deep resistance amongst ministers concerning the prospect of plunging tens of millions of individuals again into lockdown wrecking Christmas once more whereas proof stays unclear.  

Former minister Tim Loughton advised The Telegraph: ‘Wrecking folks’s Christmas for a second yr operating would go down extremely badly. 

‘Whether it is based mostly on extra of the type of dodgy modelling which led to earlier knee-jerk lockdown reactions which did untold harm and many unintended penalties then it have to be challenged in any respect prices and Parliament have to be given the chance to problem it.’


Tory MP Steve Baker, the deputy chair of the Covid restoration group, warned there can be an ‘extraordinarily adversarial’ response from Tory MPs who have been advised there can be no extra restrictions. 

‘If that phrase is damaged inside days, there might be actual dismay that guarantees have been made to safe votes, then additional restrictions got here in. That type of conduct can’t go on for lengthy,’ he stated.

The fast-moving nature of the scenario was underlined tonight because the official variety of confirmed circumstances rose by almost 50 per cent to 37,000, with one other 12,000 recognized in 24 hours. There are believed to be way more infections as many both go undiagnosed or is not going to have been examined for but.  

Mr Javid appeared to trace at a looming shift when he stated the SAGE evaluation was ‘sobering’ and the federal government is able to ‘do what is critical’. 

Writing within the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Javid stated in his former profession as a dealer the ‘most vital choices’ have been taken when knowledge have been ‘early and patchy, however a development was rising’. ‘As soon as that development results in a transparent final result, it could be too late to react to it,’ he wrote. 

SAGE papers from a gathering on Thursday warning that delaying curbs till 2022 would ‘drastically cut back the effectiveness of such interventions and make it much less possible that these would forestall appreciable stress on well being and care settings.’

The advisers urged reintroducing measures ‘equal to these in place after step 2 or step 1 of the roadmap in England’. 

On the first stage of the roadmap in March this yr solely one-on-one mixing was allowed outdoors of households, and non-essential retail was nonetheless shut. On the second stage the next month bars and eating places may serve clients open air, and households weren’t permitted to combine indoors.  

Mr Johnson is regarded as sceptical of a direct response and there can be appreciable opposition inside his Cupboard to additional curbs. 

One minister advised the Sunday Instances: ‘We won’t have a scenario the place we lock down each winter and kill off the economic system. 

‘We have to cease studying throughout what is occurring in South Africa by way of what is occurring right here. It’s like evaluating apples with pears.’

There’s hypothesis that as a substitute the ‘handbrake can be pulled’ after December 25, with claims an announcement has been pencilled in for Boxing Day. 

Boris Johnson has so far refused scientists' pleas for a last-ditch Christmas lockdown to quell the spread of the Omicron mutant variant

Boris Johnson has thus far refused scientists’ pleas for a last-ditch Christmas lockdown to quell the unfold of the Omicron mutant variant 

Covid hospital admissions have spiked by more than a third in a week in Britain's Omicron hotspot of London, official data shows. Some 199 infected patients were admitted to wards in London on Tuesday, the most recent day UKHSA figures are available for

Covid hospital admissions have spiked by greater than a 3rd in per week in Britain’s Omicron hotspot of London, official knowledge exhibits 

Crowds at the Sunday Columbia Road Flower market in East London this morning despite fears over Omicron's spread

Crowds on the Sunday Columbia Highway Flower market in East London this morning regardless of fears over Omicron’s unfold 

Paramedics unload a patient from an ambulance parked outside the emergency department at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel on December 19

Paramedics unload a affected person from an ambulance parked outdoors the emergency division at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel on December 19

’24 HOURS to save lots of pubs and eating places’: Warning 10,000 hospitality companies may SHUT with out pressing monetary assist – as WFH turns cities into ghost cities

Bosses warned at present that hospitality companies want help ‘within the subsequent 24 hours’ as venues put together to close their doorways within the face of dwindling buyer numbers, with morning rush-hour site visitors in London at present falling to its lowest degree for the reason that third coronavirus lockdown started.

Places of work and metropolis centres have been deserted as Omicron circumstances proceed to soar throughout Britain – with many companies now working from dwelling within the run-up to Christmas after the federal government newest ‘work at home in the event you can’ recommendation, leaving roads empty and public transport barely used. 

Pubs and eating places throughout the UK have additionally been compelled to shut amid rising Covid circumstances, with a number of reporting that they don’t have sufficient workers obtainable to proceed serving food and drinks over the busy festive interval.  

The operator of the Actual Greek and Franco Manca restaurant chains referred to as for emergency rescue packages no matter whether or not the Authorities introduces new measures to cease the unfold of Covid. And the boss of commerce physique UKHospitality stated ‘as many as 10,000 websites’ may shut if help isn’t introduced imminently.

The group stated 54 per cent of venues have been down greater than 40 per cent in income final weekend, with one in 5 companies down greater than 60 per cent. A Tourism Alliance ballot additionally discovered a 3rd of pubs, bars and eating places haven’t any money reserves and 10 per cent of pubs and 14 per cent of eating places are subsequently very prone to fail.

The congestion determine for the 8am-9am morning rush hour in London at present was 21%, based on TomTom knowledge. This was the bottom degree of congestions for the morning rush-hour on a working weekday within the capital since January 8. 

Related developments have been seen throughout the UK with Newcastle seeing congestion fall from 51% to fifteen% in per week, probably the most excessive instance within the nation. Liverpool noticed congestion fall from 58% to 18% in per week and Birmingham went from 55% to 26%. 

Transport for London stated there have been 660,000 entries or exits on the Tube as much as 10am this morning – down 35% week-on-week, and down 46% over a fortnight. There have been 720,000 boarding faucets on buses for a similar interval this morning – down 38% week-on-week.  

Nevertheless, the Tubes are at 58% of pre-pandemic ranges and buses at 77% of pre-pandemic ranges. That is increased than final Monday (December 13), after they have been 46% and 71% respectively – and the primary purpose for that is that the faculties breaking apart for the Christmas holidays has a big effect.  

In the meantime, takeaway gross sales have surged in suburbs amid the newest work at home steerage. Hospitality leaders stated clients searching for supply had skyrocketed outdoors main areas following the brand new restrictions. They stated orders away from central London have gone up as staff left the capital for Christmas.

It comes as companies demanded a ‘roadmap’ again to normality as they confronted one other hammer blow because of the curbs.  

SAGE has backed a dramatic shutdown of non-essential outlets and ban on households mixing to keep away from a torrent of hospitalisations and deaths with Omicron operating riot.

Minutes present the federal government’s key advisory physique agreed on Thursday that hospitalisations may hit not less than 3,000 a day in England alone with out ‘stringent measures’.

Grim modelling from the SPI-M-O group thought of on the assembly suggests admissions may go as excessive as 10,000 a day – with as much as 6,000 every day deaths.

The SAGE consensus says ‘earlier interventions’ would have a ‘better impact’ and will probably be in place for a ‘shorter length’, arguing they are going to be far much less efficient if delayed previous New 12 months. 

The assertion suggests successfully ripping up the Authorities’s supposedly ‘irreversible’ roadmap out of lockdown – returning to stage 1 or 2, which suggests solely important retail opening and no mixing between households.

‘Illustrative situations from SPI-M-O recommend that measures equal to these in place after Step 2 or Step 1 of the Roadmap in England, if enacted early sufficient, may considerably cut back the potential peak in hospital admissions and infections in contrast with Plan B alone (medium confidence),’ SAGE stated.

‘The timing of such measures is essential. Delaying till 2022 would drastically cut back the effectiveness of such interventions and make it’s much less possible that these would forestall appreciable stress on well being and care settings.

‘Slowing the wave of infections would additionally permit extra folks to obtain boosters earlier than they’re probably uncovered to Omicron. This could forestall (not simply delay) some hospitalisations and deaths.’

The SAGE papers clarify that there’s nonetheless loads of uncertainty concerning the risk posed by Omicron.

However they cite ‘excessive confidence’ that it spreads quicker than the Delta variant and can sweep the nation.

Professor John Edmunds, who sits on Sage, advised The Instances that delaying new restrictions might lead to tens of millions extra infections.

‘We’re near the purpose the place there already could also be sufficient circumstances within the system to overwhelm the NHS,’ he stated.

However one authorities minister stated there must be extra details about the brand new variant earlier than new restrictions are imposed.  

‘Is it proper to make choices on info that’s incomplete and fashions which were utterly flawed prior to now,’ the minister requested.

They stated ‘everybody questioned the info and [highlighted] its incompleteness’ in the course of the cupboard briefing with Vallance on Saturday.

‘Hospitals should not being overwhelmed,’ they stated. ‘We’re in a battle to save lots of Christmas. Sajid and Gove are mad for it [further restrictions].’

Mr Javid advised Trevor Phillips On Sunday on Sky Information: ‘We have proven prior to now as Authorities in coping with this pandemic that we are going to do what is critical but it surely’s acquired to be backed up by the info.’

He added: ‘We’re watching the info and discussing it with our scientists and our greatest advisors virtually on an hourly foundation. And we are going to monitor that very rigorously. We’ll hold the scenario underneath evaluate.’

He stated numerous components together with vaccinations, antiviral remedy and different therapies for Covid-19 imply ‘the scenario at present by way of our defences could be very completely different’.

Requested if Parliament can be recalled to offer approval for brand new measures, Mr Javid stated: ‘If, and it is an if, the Prime Minister has already been clear to parliamentarians, if there was a must take any additional motion we might recall Parliament and it must be a choice for Parliament. That’s solely proper and correct.’

Mr Javid additionally launched a savage assault on vaccine refusers, saying they have to take into consideration the ‘harm they’re doing to society’. 

He warned that 10 per cent of the inhabitants – greater than 5 million folks – have nonetheless not acquired jabs, and round 9 out of 10 of these needing probably the most care in hospital have been unvaccinated.

‘I simply can’t emphasise sufficient the affect that they’re having on the remainder of society,’ he stated.

‘They need to actually take into consideration the harm they’re doing to society by… they take up hospital beds that might have been used for somebody with perhaps a coronary heart drawback, or perhaps somebody who’s ready for elective surgical procedure.

‘However as a substitute of defending themselves and defending the neighborhood they select to not get vaccinated. They’re actually having a dangerous affect and I simply cannot stress sufficient, please do come ahead and get vaccinated.’ 

Mr Johnson has been arguing {that a} quick booster vaccination marketing campaign should purchase the NHS useful time. In a glimmer of optimism it emerged that the NHS has damaged the every day file once more, handing out greater than 900,000 of the jabs in England alone over 24 hours. 

Senior figures together with Rishi Sunak and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps are additionally sceptical about cracking down additional. 

However SAGE advisers have been telling the federal government that mixing of households must be banned ‘very quickly’ to cease the Omicron variant operating riot and sending hospitalisations concerning the peak from final Christmas.