Britain could reach up to 460,000 daily Covid cases by Christmas Eve — forcing 2million people into isolation — if infections continue to increase as quickly as some scientists expect, analysis of official figures suggests.

These large numbers can partially paralyse the nation, leading to huge disruption in the work place and potentially threatening critical services like the NHS and police.

The government has contingency plans that call for the military being called in to fill in any gaps in these services in cases of major shortages. However, this is not tested in the real world. 

The head of Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital trust in London — which looks after two of the largest hospitals in the country — this morning revealed 10 per cent of staff are currently off due to Covid.

Chris Whitty, today’s Omicron Wave spokesperson, warned of a’very rapid’ peak with Omicron-related cases at their highest level ever yesterday and infected persons increasing by two to three times per day.  

If the number of people testing positive — which is much lower than the actual number of infections occurring in the community because not everyone gets swabbed — also doubles every three days, then the UK’s average toll of daily cases could hit 462,704 on Christmas Eve. 

It would result in approximately 2 million people being isolated for 10 days for positive testing. This is equivalent to 3 percent of the country’s population. If their contact who show symptoms is also affected, the true cost could be higher.

Andrew Hayward of SAGE, however, claims that the actual infection count would be higher because the spread is faster than what tests can track. 

However, Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge statistics said that models for predicting infection doubling every other day were ‘not reasonable’ as people won’t continue to socialize at the same level they did before Omicron was discovered.

And health minister Gillian Keegan said the threat of having to isolate over Christmas is ‘bound to make people a bit more cautious’ in the run-up to the big day, which will have a knock-on effect on cases.  

Scientists warned that the nation’s testing capabilities could be overwhelmed in the days ahead. Officials hope to boost the country’s PCR bases by 150,000 every day. For the first three days, rapid lateral flow testing was not available on the NHS website. The country averages around 790,000.00 PCR tests each day.

If the number of people testing positive doubles every three days, then there would be 463,704 daily cases on Christmas Eve. That would force the 1.9million people testing positive between now and then into isolation for 10 days, the equivalent of 3 per cent of the population

If there were 463 704 people who test positive every day, that would mean that Christmas Eve will see 463 704. This would place the nearly 1.9 million people who have tested positive in the last 10 days into isolation, which is equivalent to 3% of the total population. 

Such huge numbers could partially paralyse the country, causing 'huge disruption from people being off work' and threatening key services including the NHS and police, experts claimed. Graph shows: The number of NHS staff off work with Covid every day over the last two weeks. Dips on December 5 and 12 occurred on Sundays, when fewer staff are working and therefore less absences are expected. Figures are expected to increase in the coming weeks

Experts claimed that such large numbers could paralyse parts of the country and cause a ‘huge disruption’ to people’s work and threaten key services like the NHS, police and other public safety agencies. This graph shows the number of NHS employees who have been absent from work for Covid over the past two weeks. The December 5, 12 and 13 dips were on Sundays when there are fewer employees working, and so fewer absences can be expected. In the next weeks, figures are likely to rise

No10 plans to cover any gaps in NHS staffing, as well as other key services including the police, border force and energy sectors, with military personnel, according to The i.   

The variant has already caused staff shortages, according to Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive at NHS Providers. 

She explained that Omicron was already creating staff shortages for the NHS. Absences in Omicron hotspots such as London are on the rise.

Ms Cordery stated that the effect on remaining staff workloads is a “major problem given the enormous service demand currently across NHS”, and said: “This reinforces why having an a jab so important to protect staff. 

Many scientists disagree with the Government modeling that suggests Omicron cases continue to increase by two times per day. They claim it fails to account for changes in behaviour or increasing immunity.

The number of confirmed cases rose by more than 80% every week in January, when the Alpha variant was at its most transmissible. However, this was prior to vaccines. Only a very small percentage of people had immunity from infection. 

Ministers demand that Plan C Covid curbs are not implemented before Christmas 

Ministers insist they don’t intend to add coronavirus rules prior to Christmas. Tory MPs slam Professor Chris Whitty, who advised people not limit their socializing. 

Gillian Keegan (Health Minister) stated that there are no further restrictions on the use of prescription drugs between Christmas Day and now. 

She said that Boris Johnson would not hesitate to recall Parliament during the Christmas period, if he feels he needs to add curbs to counter growing concerns about a Plan C being rolled out right after Christmas.    

After Joy Morrissey, Tory MP and Chief Medical Officer of England, used Downing Street’s press conference to encourage Brits to prioritize who they see in the next days.

Responding to a tweet about Prof Whitty urging people to prioritise their social interactions in order to stem the spread of the Omicron variant, she tweeted: ‘Perhaps the unelected covid public health spokesperson should defer to what our ELECTED Members of Parliament and the Prime Minister have decided.

“It’s hard to recall, but this is how democracy works. This is not an socialist state of public health.

After facing a lot of criticism Ms Morrissey, Government parliamentary private secretary and the lowest on the ministerial ladder was forced to delete the tweet. 

Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting called her comments ‘outrageous’ and demanded that she apologise.   

Julian Smith, former Tory cabinet minister, also seemed to be critical of Ms Morrissey. 

Millions of Britons now expect to adjust their Christmas plans, in order to see their families on Christmas Day. 

Last night, Mr Johnson did not tell people to cancel plans. However, he called for caution and Prof Whitty said that people should limit their socializing. 

These comments were triggered a ‘tsunami of cancellations’ for pubs and restaurants as many people are now voluntarily staying at home in a bid to avoid catching coronavirus. Anyone with a positive test from yesterday must isolate for 10 days. This will force them to miss the festivities. 

Hoteliers are requesting that the Government provide urgent financial support in order to save their industry.

MPs voted in favour of Mr Johnson’s Plan B measures of compulsory face masks and Covid passes for nightclubs and large venues on Tuesday evening but the PM suffered a huge Tory rebellion.

Before the vote, Professor Whitty called a cross-party team of 80 MPs to discuss Omicron’s risks. Tory rebels said that Whitty’s comments actually encouraged the rebellion. 

According to one rebel, Prof Whitty had “helped us case” because he stated that nothing that we were voting would change the height of infected.

Official daily confirmed cases have not yet doubled in the past two days. To compare, the 78,500 positive results yesterday were just 50% higher in one week. 

The rolling seven-day average of daily cases — a more accurate figure that isn’t skewed by potential blips in the data — suggests the rate is rising even slower. 

The testing results have not yet shown the real effects of Omicron. 

In a more likely scenario, where cases double every four-and-a-half days, around 231,352 would be testing positive every day by December 24. 

This would leave around 1.1million people isolating on Christmas Day — around two per cent of the population.

Even at the slower rate of one per nine days, it would result in 115,672 daily infection by Christmas Eve. There will also be 764,000.00 isolated (1.1%) each day.  

Times Radio interviewed Professor Spiegelhalter about the fact that it would double each day to reach 11 million people on Christmas Day, and then the whole country for New Year’s Eve. This is absurd. It is unlikely that this will happen. 

“So, it is bound to curve at some point. There are signs that it’s slowing down. These extrapolations, which assume that it doubles every two days for the next few days, can’t be continued very long.

He warned that’millions of’ infections were likely in the weeks ahead. 

He stated that “Millions” of people will be affected by the virus over the coming weeks and months. This is likely to lead to major disruptions in work and other activities. That is, I believe, entirely predictable. 

“That is what we know. It’s not clear what the NHS will do. This will be more prevalent among the younger generation? 

“That is because we don’t yet know the exact severity of the virus, if it does infect you. There is a lot of uncertainty as to the exact impact. The impact could be significantly better than the last winter or even worse.

His comments were echoed by the Minister of State for Care, who said people are bound to ‘make a sensible choice’ over the next fortnight to avoid isolating on Christmas.

Sky News spoke with Ms Keegan, who said that everyone is warning people to be cautious. Many of us know someone now with Covid. This means that if you test positive you will likely be isolated over Christmas. 

SAGE’s Professor Hayward, however, suggested that the predicted astronomical amount of infections by Government advisors might still happen.

BBC Breakfast, he said: “If you consider getting one year worth of rain in a single month, you will get flooding and possibly severe flooding regardless how well you have strengthened your defenses.

‘And that’s the concern here — that that huge wave is going to cause lots of people to be off work having to isolate, which is going to cause disruption, and it’s going to spill over into people going into hospital.

“Now, the speed at which it spreads is unknown because we don’t know how severe it is yet but we have no reason to believe that it’s any less than other strains.

“We all know that Covid will always be more severe if someone has been immunized, but that may not be the reason that many cases seem less severe.

According to him, more data on severe weather should be available around Christmas or early next year. However, he added that if you wait and do nothing about it, you will end up in worse shape than if your actions are taken now.

Others have refuted the idea that Omicron infection will keep doubling every other day. This suggests people will be following Professor Chris Whitty’s advice to prioritize only the important.

“So, that will make people more careful. Take a wise decision and make it for you. If you are going to be attending a party, make sure to take a test. 

If there are lots of people you don’t already know, then that’s fine. Take a different approach, if Christmas Day is your primary goal.

“Everybody has different pros and cons. Make a wise decision, but wear a mask. Also, take a test before you go and make sure you are in well-ventilated areas.

Experts suggest that Britain’s day-to-day testing may not be sufficient to deal with Omicron variant infections. 

Jeffrey Barrett is the leader of the Covid-19 genomes project at the Sanger Institute. He told The Daily Telegraph, “Testing capacities will almost certainly fail in order to keep up Omicron. 

“Even though we make every effort to scale up supply linearly, demand will increase exponentially. It will occur everywhere, almost simultaneously, and global supply chains for reagents, such as plastics, may struggle to keep up. 

Below is the graph that shows Omicron cases. They don’t have an S gene (purple). To confirm Covid infections, PCR tests search for three genes. However Omicron has only two.

Below is the graph that shows Omicron cases. They don’t have an S gene (purple). To confirm Covid infections, PCR tests search for three genes. However Omicron has only two.