Today, three thousand darts enthusiasts crowded into London’s Alexandra Palace to witness the World Championship. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, warned residents to reduce their New Year’s Eve festivities due to Omicron virus. 

Photographs showed many fans sporting ‘Where is Wally’ long-sleeved red-and-white striped t-shirts, and holding bottles of beer while they enjoyed darts at the North London venue. 

While some competitors were sporting masks, others chose not to. One group of Vikings dressed up as spectators swung their arms high as they cheered on the contestants. 

The fans had gathered for the fifth day of the William Hill World Championship. Yesterday, three-time champion Michael van Gerwen reached round three after losing the first set against opponent Chas Barstow.

But the packed scenes at Alexandra Palace came as Mr Khan pleaded with the public to ‘err on the side of caution’ for their New Year’s Eve celebrations – saying they should only go to pubs and restaurants if it can be done ‘safely’. 

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Mr Khan gave a grim picture of the ‘existential’ threat facing hospitality businesses as people bunker down and cancel events over Covid fears.

Three thousand darts fans crammed into London's Alexandra Palace today to watch the world championship - as the city's mayor Sadiq Khan warned people living in the capital to tone down their New Year's Eve celebrations due to the threat posed by the Omicron variant of coronavirus

Three thousand darts fans crammed into London’s Alexandra Palace today to watch the world championship – as the city’s mayor Sadiq Khan warned people living in the capital to tone down their New Year’s Eve celebrations due to the threat posed by the Omicron variant of coronavirus

Whilst some were wearing masks, many spectators had chosen not to, including a group dressed as Vikings who had their arms in the air as they cheered the competitors

Whilst some were wearing masks, many spectators had chosen not to, including a group dressed as Vikings who had their arms in the air as they cheered the competitors

But the packed scenes at Alexandra Palace came as Mr Khan (pictured At BBC Broadcasting House today) pleaded with the public to 'err on the side of caution' for their New Year's Eve celebrations - saying they should only go to pubs and restaurants if it can be done 'safely'

But the packed scenes at Alexandra Palace came as Mr Khan (pictured At BBC Broadcasting House today) pleaded with the public to ‘err on the side of caution’ for their New Year’s Eve celebrations – saying they should only go to pubs and restaurants if it can be done ‘safely’ 

Mr Khan called on the Government to bring forward a package of support to keep venues afloat during the latest crisis.

But he also gave a clear indication that people should not be engaging in revelry in the current climate. 

Asked whether New Year parties should be going ahead, Mr Khan said: ‘I think it depends what sort of parties you are planning. If it is with your family, your direct family at home of course that is fine.

‘I think what you have got to recognise, if you are meeting with strangers, if you have not had your lateral flow test on that day, if you can’t keep your social distance, if there is not good ventilation, you may be passing the virus on if you have got it without showing symptoms.

‘Or you may be getting it. Err on the side of caution.’

Told that chief medic Chris Whitty was urging people to be selective about the events that were important to them personally, Mr Khan said: I’ve not had the benefit I’m afraid of listening to Chris Whitty directly, but I trust Chris Whitty… if that is the advice from the chief medical officer I would rather listen to him.’

Asked whether people should still be going to bars and restaurants, he said: ‘If they can do so safely.’ 

Mr Khan yesterday declared a major incident due to the ‘hugely concerning’ surge in cases across the capital, as he voiced fears about staff absences in vital public services including the NHS, the fire service and police due to infection. 

In a dire warning, the Mayor of London said the rapid spread of the Omicron variant had left him ‘incredibly worried’ that the capital could run out of police officers, NHS workers and firefighters.

‘The surge in cases of the Omicron variant across our capital is hugely concerning, so we are once again declaring a major incident because of the threat of Covid-19 to our city,’ he said. 

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

‘The Omicron variant has quickly become dominant with cases increasing rapidly and the number of patients in our hospitals with Covid-19 on the rise again.’

But a Government source angrily accused Mr Khan – who announced a similar major incident in January – of politicising Covid-19.

Omicron is the dominant variant in London and it is thought it has also replaced Delta across England and Scotland.  

The number of people in the capital’s hospitals with the virus has risen 28.6 per cent week on week, according to official figures released on Friday.  

It comes amid fears that a normal Christmas Day may be under threat after Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned the Government must act on Omicron before it is ‘too late’. 

SAGE experts have raised the alarm that the number of infections could soon reach two million by the end of the month unless tougher restrictions are imposed. 

Medical and science chiefs Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance are believed to have briefed the Cabinet yesterday that more measures are required to stop hospital admissions rising above 3,000 per day in England. 

The fans had gathered for the fifth day of the William Hill World Championship. Above: A man dressed as the Grinch inside Alexandra Palace yesterday

Fans gathered to witness the fifth day at the William Hill World Championship. Above: A man dressed as the Grinch inside Alexandra Palace yesterday

Yesterday, three-time champion Michael van Gerwen reached round three after losing the first set against opponent Chas Barstow. Above: Fans sit down inside the packed venue on Saturday

After losing his first set to Chas Barstow, Michael van Gerwen became the third champion. Above: Saturday’s packed venue is filled with fans.

General view of the crowd during day four of the William Hill World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London

View of the crowd at Alexandra Palace in London during Day Four of the William Hill World Darts Championship

Ministers are resentful about locking millions of people up, with Christmas right around the corner. 

Boris Johnson could also be criticized for not having the political power to pass additional restrictions, following last week’s massive rebellion against Plan B as well as the resignation of Lord Frost (Brexit minister) last night. 

However, Mr Javid suggested that there might be new restrictions this morning. 

In the Sunday Telegraph, he stated that his trading career was marked by the “most important decisions” made with data that was “early and weak, but showing a trend.”      

“Once that trend has led to a clear result, it might be too late to adjust to it,” he said.

Today, Javid stated that while the government has been closely reviewing the evidence and was ready to do what it deems necessary, but that SAGE calls would be “challenged”. 

 He also gave a firm commitment that parliament will be recalled if any action is going to be taken.

When asked if a circuit breaker could be eliminated before Christmas, Mr Javid said to Andrew Marr on BBC Radio: “There’s no guarantee.” 

A SAGE paper from Thursday’s meeting shows how advisors warned that delaying the introduction of new restrictions until 2022 would ‘greatly decrease their effectiveness and make it less likely they will prevent substantial pressure on healthcare settings and health systems’.