Britain looked like it was in an unofficial lockdown today, with streets barely more busy than last year’s. However, this is only the beginning of the 2022 work day.

According to TomTom, road congestion in London reached 22 percent between 8am ET and 9am ET this morning. This was just slightly more than the January 4, 2021 figure of 19%.

The major railway stations of the capital, including Victoria and Waterloo, looked quiet. However there was a lot less commuters on the Underground trains at rush hour.

This comes after pressure was placed on the Government by millions of Omicron-infected people to return to work quicker and maintain essential services.

The US, Greece, and France have now adopted a move that requires people to remain indoors for five consecutive days. A King’s College London expert has suggested this might be replicated in Britain, as data suggests cases are falling in London, despite no surge in death rates, according to King’s College London.

Many workers are now following government guidance and work at home. Nearly 1.2million Covid-19 positive people were found in this week’s survey.

This comes exactly one year after Prime Minister Boris Johnson instructed people to “stay at home” as England was officially placed in its third lockdown. He had previously imposed Tier 4 restrictions on many areas, including the capital.

Rail passengers in England and Wales were affected by delays on today’s first day of work due to Covid-related staff shortages. 

If teachers become positive, children could not return to school. In fact, headteachers are feared to have to fire up as many as 25% of their staff.

Last-minute cancellations of rail services have been announced to employees returning to work. Businesses have warned that they might have to close their doors and operate less hours as a result of staff in quarantine.

NHS bosses said for many hospitals the biggest challenge was ‘rising staff absences’, rather than the number of patients with Covid. According to the latest data, 1,189.985 people were positive for Covid during the seven-day period ending yesterday. 

LONDON VICTORIA -- The empty concourse at London Victoria station at about 9am with no Southern trains calling today

LONDON VICTORIA — A empty platform at London Victoria station around 9am, with no Southern trains calling.

LONDON WATERLOO -- Commuters at Waterloo at about 9am today on the first day back to work after the Christmas break

LONDON WATERLOO — Commuters in Waterloo today at 9:15am, the first day back after Christmas break

LONDON OVERGROUND - Passengers take the Overground to work at about 7am today on a service via South East London

LONDON OVERGROUND: Passengers use the Overground today to get to work around 7am on a South East London service.

CANADA WATER -- An empty escalator at Canada Water railway station in South East London at about 7am this morning

CANADAWATER — At Canada Water station in South East London, an empty escalator was seen at approximately 7:15 AM this morning

Due to an train fault, today’s London Overground trains couldn’t run between Clapham Junction, Surrey Quays, and Clapham Junction, and Merseyrail services between Kirkdale, Kirkby, were also halted due to a power supply issue.

A ‘problem under investigation” between Darlington, York caused disruption between two stations. This was impacting CrossCountry and TransPennine Express as well as London North Eastern Railway services.

Other emergency repairs needed to be done at Slade Green, South East London, were made in response to an electrical fault that caused the Southeastern train line to get blocked.

Network Rail dispatched technicians to Lewisham in order to repair a set of new points that had ‘worked fine throughout the night’ during testing, but which now ‘has gone wrong’. Southeastern was disrupted on one main line to the capital.

TomTom reported that road congestion levels in London reached 22 percent in the morning slot between 8am and 9am this morning. That was up from 41% on Friday, Dec 17, which was 41%). 

LONDON WATERLOO (JANUARY 4, 2021) -- An empty ticket barrier area at London Waterloo on the Underground last year

LONDON WAKELOO (JANUARY 4, 2020) — The Underground’s London Waterloo last year had an empty ticket area.

JUBILEE LINE (JANUARY 4, 2021) -- A quiet Jubilee line on the London Underground network on the same day last year

JUBILEE-LINE, JANUARY 4, 2020 — This quiet Jubilee line was on London Underground on the exact same day as last year.

WATERLOO ROAD (JANUARY 4, 2021) -- Waterloo Road outside Waterloo train station is very quiet on the same day last year

WATERLOO ROAD JANUARY 4, 2021 — Waterloo Road, just outside Waterloo station was very quiet the day before.

This is a significant drop from Monday, Dec 13, which was the first day that working from home guidance had been reintroduced. That date saw a 60 percent level, three times more than the present level.

Today’s 9am deadline saw 96 jams that covered 25 miles. Today’s congestion was less than one third of what it was in 2019 (67%%) and half that of 2020 (53%), depending on the hour.

British rail journeys were being affected by operators who used reduced schedules as a way to boost reliability. This was after several weeks of unexpected cancellations and staff shortages following the outbreak.

ScotRail created a temporary timetable for the week yesterday due to an Omicron variation of Covid-19 causing a “large number” of absences.

There have been more than 150 cuts in daily service, on routes like Glasgow to Edinburgh via Airdrie/Bathgate and Glasgow Central to Lanark. Edinburgh to North Berwick has also been cut. 

LONDON EUSTON: Rail passengers sit down at London Euston station at about 9.15am this morning as people return to work

LONDON EUSTON: Train passengers assemble at London Euston station around 9.15 am this morning, as workers return to work

NORTHERN LINE: Commuters sit on a Northern line train heading into Central London at about 8am this morning

NORTHERN LINE – Commuters are seated on a Northern Line train that is heading to Central London around 8am today

LONDON BRIDGE: A small number of commuters walk through London Bridge Jubilee line station at about 7am this morning

LONDON Bridge: This morning at 7:15 AM, commuters made a short walk to the London Bridge Jubilee Line Station.

FINCHLEY CENTRAL: Empty platforms at Finchley Central Underground station on the Northern line at about 8am today

FINCHLEY CCENTRAL: At around 8 am today, empty platforms at Finchley Central Underground station (Northern line)

Southern’s inability to service London Victoria on January 10th is another example. CrossCountry, on the other hand has eliminated around 50 trains daily from its schedules up until next week.

The demand for rail travel has increased to 50% from pre-pandemic levels. Partly this is due to guidance that allows people to work at home. Tomorrow is the first day of work in Scotland.

Boris Johnson said yesterday that increasing isolation time for Covid-infected people would only make the situation worse.

The pressure mounted on the Prime Minister to permit the vast majority of those who had caught mild Omicron to return to work sooner and continue essential services, but he refused.

He stated that requiring employees to remain indoors for five consecutive days, a practice already adopted by France, Greece, and the US, would actually lead to more people getting sick. They could catch Covid from an infected person who rushed to get back at them while they were still infected. 

EUSTON ROAD -- A very quiet Euston Road outside King's Cross railway station in London at about 9.15am this morning

EUSTON ROAD — This quiet Euston Road is just outside King’s Cross station, London. It was about 9.15 this morning

A4200 -- A very quiet A4200 leading to Euston Road in Central London at about 9.15am this morning, near Euston station

A4200 — Very quiet route A4200 that leads to Euston Road, Central London. It is located near Euston Station at around 9.15am.

A1(M) -- A quiet-looking A1(M) motorway in North London at about 7am this morning as some people head back into the office

A1(M), — A tranquil-looking A1(1)(M motorway in North London around 7am this morning, as people return to work

BARNET -- The Barnet High Road in North London also looks quiet this morning shortly before 8am today

BARNET — This morning, the Barnet High Road is quiet in North London just before 8 am today

Road congestion levels in London were at 22 per cent in the 8am to 9am slot this morning (far right) according to TomTom

TomTom reports that road congestion levels in London reached 22 percent in this 8-9 AM slot.

Yesterday Mr Johnson declared that they will continue to examine infectivity periods. The key point is that we do not want to release people into the workforce while they are still infected.

“And you run the risk of increasing the number of people returning to work. This is a three-fold increase in the chance of spreading infectious diseases.” You might have an adverse effect on your workforce.

The current 7-day period of isolation in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland was also claimed to be’very close’ at five days. People can still leave their homes “just one minute after midnight” on the day you test positive.

King’s College London’s Zoe Covid symptoms research leader, Professor Tim Spector said that it was possible to reduce the quarantine limit as data suggests cases are falling, despite no surge in death rates as previously predicted.

“The staff problem due to excessive isolation rules is threatening to drive the health crisis.” He suggested that this should be reduced to just five days.

Experts claimed that cutting the isolation period to five days would save the UK economy £300million this month.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research estimated that the current rules will cost the country £1billion, equal to 0.5 per cent of monthly GDP.

Not only will this help major employers in the public sector, such as NHS which saw almost one-tenth of its employees absent sick for New Year’s Eve. But, five days instead would boost sales at hospitality businesses that have suffered during Christmas, and sometimes had to close their doors due to staff shortages.

Yesterday was a day of repercussions from the isolation nation, with trash going uncollected, disruption to trains services and dire warnings of the possible impact on the elderly’s care.

James Jamieson is chairman of the Local Government Association. He stated that there are still pressures in place that existed before Christmas. Bins were one example. This was due to a lack of HGV drivers.

“But, our greatest concern is social services, as we will potentially see lots more staff absents and we will actually see more demand for hospital discharges from the NHS.