The Ministers of Omicron will discuss whether new Covid restrictions need to be imposed at this week’s crunch Cobra Meeting.

  • A meeting of Emergency Cobra will examine if there is a need for a coordinated response across UK to Omicron variant threat
  • There are fears this meeting could lead to more restrictions being imposed on Christmas Eve
  • It happens despite the resistance of Tory MPs. Downing Street seems determined to move on without them
  • According to one scientific study, there would be a dramatic increase in deaths.
  • Omicron was given a “red” risk rating by the official assessment for Omicron’s growth advantages over the Delta version and its ability to escape the immune system.

This weekend, ministers will determine whether new restrictions for Covid are necessary in light of the recent dire warnings by scientists.

The UK’s emergency Cobra meeting will address the question of whether there is a need for a collective response to Omicron variant threat.

The meeting will raise fears that more curbs could be imposed before Christmas – despite the opposition of Tory MPs and Downing Street’s apparent determination to get through without them.

Ministers will decide this weekend whether any new Covid restrictions are needed following the latest dire warnings from scientists. An emergency Cobra meeting will discuss if a joint response to the threat of the Omicron variant is needed across the UK. (The PM is pictured in west London on Friday)

Following the recent dire warnings by scientists, ministers will make a decision this weekend about whether new restrictions for Covid. A Cobra emergency meeting will be held to discuss whether a coordinated response is required across the UK in light of Omicron’s threat. (The Prime Minister is seen in London’s west on Friday).

Any further restrictions would increase the pressure on Rishi Sunak to give more help to the hospitality sector, which has been hit by the warnings over the new strain. On Friday, the Chancellor met business leaders to discuss their concerns after he was forced to return early from a work trip to San Francisco. (Above, he is seen arriving at Heathrow)

Rishi Sunak will be put under more pressure to help the struggling hospitality industry, as any further restrictions could increase his resistance to giving assistance. After being forced to cancel his San Francisco work trip, the Chancellor met with business leaders on Friday to address their concerns. (Above he can be seen at Heathrow.

The news came at a time when one scientific study was forecasting a significant increase in deaths. Omicron, however, received an official assessment that gave it a’red risk rating’ for its growth over the Delta version and how well the immune system can resist.

On Thursday night, the Welsh government declared that they would shut down all nightclubs starting December 27, as well as imposing a social distancing limit of two meters in offices. 

The Cobra meeting this weekend, which included ministers representing all devolved administrations of the country, was the second such event in as little time.

Many business leaders have been left enraged by advice from government scientists to cut down on socialising which has led to a collapse in trade. (Pictured: A closed venue in Leeds)

Numerous business leaders are angry at government scientists’ advice to reduce socialising, which has caused a decline in trade. (Pictured in Leeds: Closed venue

Boris Johnson met with leaders from the three devolved administrations this week, which included Nicola Sturgeon (first minister of Scotland), to discuss the crisis.

Rishi Sunak could be subject to further restrictions if he is not willing to help the industry, which was already affected by the announcements regarding the new strain. 

Alert about care home visits

As some companies began to place bans on Christmas visits to care homes, they were told last night to allow their residents to go to relatives.

Care Quality Commission reached out to some providers in order to remind them about Government guidelines that require care home residents be permitted visits by three designated visitors as well as an essential care giver.

This is after a major company, Barchester banned any care givers except those who were essential. 

Some providers warned they would have to stop receiving lateral flow tests because there won’t be enough.

Barchester said this week that it would only permit anyone visiting its facilities through screens until December 23, even if they are not essential care providers.

Kate Terroni of the CQC stated that they are’making it absolutely clear for pro-viders, that blanket approaches and visiting are inacceptable and might trigger an inspection. 

Barchester indicated that Monday would be the day it reviewed its rules.

Yesterday, after being forced from San Francisco on a work trip, the Chancellor met leaders of business to address their concerns. 

Numerous people are angry at government scientists’ advice to decrease socializing which has resulted in a crash of trade.

CBI, along with other organizations, asked for CBI emergency grants, 100% business rate relief for retail and for VAT reduction to 5% for tourism and hospitality. 

Concerns were raised by business groups about possible cancellations of certain sectors. They also stressed the importance of clear communication from the government.

This was after figures revealed that London’s West End footfall on Thursday was 32% lower than the previous day of 2019, prior to the pandemic. The numbers were 7 percent lower than a week earlier.

Jace Tyrrell (CEO of New West End Company) stated that despite rising Covid cases lowering consumer confidence, and a planned Tube strike on Saturday, New West End Company anticipates a weak final weekend in Christmas trading, at a moment when West End businesses need to be experiencing a boost.

“The Government should act fast to offer temporary financial support for leisure businesses in the UK. If we don’t, further viable companies could close their doors within the next months.”

Kitty Ussher is the chief economist of The Institute of Directors. She stated: “It was sensible to unwind pandemic related business support schemes when there seemed to be some return to normality in business conditions.”

“But, after the Omicron variant, and subsequent drops in consumer demand, it is now clear that this is no longer true. This couldn’t have come at a better time for restaurants, venues and travel agencies.

“We call on the government to stop the unravelling of any remaining support programs, including the VAT reductions for hotels and support for business rates.

UK Hospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls stated that she is not confident the sector will receive the necessary support, but was optimistic some type of package would be announced.

According to her, the crisis is ‘rapidly worsening’ and “getting worse every hour” as the measures taken in Wales have a knock-on impact on the businesses of England.

According to a Treasury spokesperson, “The Chancellor addressed business leaders and the industry.” 

“We recognize how crucial the holiday period for many businesses is and will continue constructively to engage with the government on how it could best support the businesses affected.”