As Plan B, England’s strictest measures were enacted, revellers took to the bars Friday night. It was designed to curb the spread OmicronCovid-19. Christmas is just two weeks away.

In Newcastle and Leeds, revellers were spotted donning festive headgear and celebrating with work colleagues as they got in their Christmas bashes early. 

The bars and pubs were packed as usual despite tightening restrictions in England today. There will be more in the days ahead.

The NHS Covid Pass – which is obtained through two vaccinations or a negative side flow test – will be introduced in nightclubs as a requirement for entry to large venues starting Wednesday, December 15.

Passports are valid for all indoor and outdoor spaces with at least 500 persons, as well as any venues hosting more than 4,000 guests. 

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, announced Wednesday that partygoers would not have to drive to the office on Monday. Instead, Johnson gave them a temporary reprieve, telling them to stay home as much as possible. This will allow those who are looking to enjoy the weekend to get some additional recovery time. 

Public Health Scotland has asked people to stop celebrating Christmas, a move that contradicts Boris Johnson’s recommendation that parties in England be allowed to continue despite the call to workers not to go to work. 

LEEDS: A group of friends do the Can-can on Friday night ahead of Plan B being enacted across England, bringing in stricter measures in order to suppress the spread of the highly infectious Omicron Covid-19 variant

LEEDS: A group of friends do the Can-can on Friday night ahead of Plan B being enacted across England, bringing in stricter measures in order to suppress the spread of the highly infectious Omicron Covid-19 variant

NEWCASTLE: Party-goers in varied fancy dress - including Batman, Wolverine and one of the 118 men - pose for the camera as they enjoy a night on the town ahead of Plan B measures going into force

NEWCASTLE – Partygoers dressed in various fancy clothes – Wolverine, Batman and Wolverine – take photos as they have a great time on the town before Plan B comes into effect

To gain entry to large nightclubs or other venues that host large numbers of people, the NHS Covid card is mandatory.

One dose of each vaccine will be given to a child who is fully vaccinated. This will still be monitored by the booster program.

The requirement will allow for a negative lateral flow test. This will be done in one week to give companies time to plan.

In the meantime, compulsory mask wearing, which was already mandatory on public transport is extended indoors to include theatres, cinemas, and places for worship. Pubs and restaurants do not require masks.

As those without a passport to receive vaccines were not able, people went out and enjoyed the night. 

The exact date of their lifting is unknown. However, there are reports about a Plan C (and even more stringent measures) being considered by government officials. It is likely that this variant will become increasingly popular in the weeks ahead. Johnson stated that the original September measures will be reviewed on January 5th. 

NEWCASTLE: Revellers out in Newcastle tonight get into the party mood with the festive celebrations in full swing despite Plan B COVID measures being introduced today, with Christmas just two weeks away

NEWCASTLE: Revellers out in Newcastle tonight get into the party mood with the festive celebrations in full swing despite Plan B COVID measures being introduced today, with Christmas just two weeks away

LEEDS: A group of friends pose for the camera on Friday. From Wednesday, NHS Covid pass - obtained by having two vaccines or a negative lateral flow test - are being introduced as an entry requirement into nightclubs and other large venues

LEEDS. A group of close friends poses for the cameras on Friday. From Wednesday, NHS Covid pass – obtained by having two vaccines or a negative lateral flow test – are being introduced as an entry requirement into nightclubs and other large venues

Photographs from Newcastle showed youngsters dressed for festive celebrations. Even though it was 35F outside, Tyneside revellers were seen in festive, skimpy fancy dresses.

Leeds witnessed similar scenes and temperatures were only slightly better at 38F. Women posed in groups while performing the Can-can at bars.

However, it was not all fun and games. Photos show one victim being tackled on the ground by police officers. He then had to be taken away.         

LEEDS: A man is tackled to the ground by a police officer, smashing a bottle on the ground and sending glass everywhere

LEEDS – A police officer tackles a man and smashes a bottle to make him fall.

NEWCASTLE: A group of men make the most of Christmas jumper day, sporting a variety of festive tops

NEWCASTLE – A group of men makes the most of Christmas jumper day by sporting various festive tops

NEWCASTLE: A man with a glitter beard and Santa hat shows off his'mam' and 'dad' tattoos

NEWCASTLE: This man shows his’mam and ‘dad tattoos with a Santa hat and glittery beard

Public Health Scotland’s director for public health science Dr Nick Phin advised revelers to delay any celebrations to prevent the virus spreading.

John Edmunds is a member the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. He said the cases of this variant would continue rising.

At a Royal Society of Medicine briefing, he stated that restrictions were a necessary evil. He said it was very detrimental for certain sectors of the economy, including the retail and hospitality sectors. They will all be affected.

“Unfortunately we must do it. This virus spreads at a rate of about two to three times per day.

He said, “Even though it appears like overreaction and there are very few cases right now, it is in fact not.” 

The regulations governing sports stadiums were published on Thursday evening. But, although the Department of Health stated that facial coverings are only required in indoor spaces, they will still be allowed in outdoor areas. 

People attending churches or other places of worship will have to wear a face mask – but will be allowed to take it off to sing, making people question whether the face covering will make any difference to the spread of Omicron.

An exemption was created amid confusion about concerns that singing increases the risk of Covid-19 spreading by making droplets travel farther.  

The Daily Telegraph quotes an anonymous source from the Government as saying that it’s’very probable’ that visitors to social care facilities will be restricted to three visitors under plans being reviewed by ministers.

According to the UK Health Security Agency, there were 817 cases confirmed of Omicron variants in the UK at the end of 2014

Omicron is defeated by boosters, which reduces the risk of getting ill by 75%

According to official UK Government analysis, booster Covid jabs can provide 75 percent protection against mild diseases caused by Omicron super variants.

Experts believe that the three-dosage regimen will give you a significantly higher level of immunity to severe illnesses and even death due to this highly evolved strain.

If the second dose was given more than three months before, it is possible that effectiveness for symptomatic disease may be less than 40% in Pfizer’s case and almost zero for AstraZeneca.

Officials stress, however that two vaccines can still provide high protection against serious illness. This is the best sign that future hospital admissions will be lower than previous ones.

Scientists at No10 are now more optimistic that Plan B restrictions, and the booster campaign, will suffice to prevent further draconian curbs. Also, it was confirmed that the 1,265 Omicron infections in the UK have not resulted either in death or hospital admissions.

UK Health Security Agency conducted a real-world study on 581 Omicron positive people and then compared them to a group that had not tested positive for Delta.

The Pfizer booster is believed to provide 70-75 percent protection against mild Omicron illnesses, regardless if the original vaccine was used. Delta only provides 90 per cent.

Pfizer could offer only 37 percent protection in three-and-a half months, while Delta offers 60 percent. AstraZeneca gave almost no protection for the same period of time after two doses.

Scientists cautioned that AstraZeneca’s data was more reliable than expected due to restrictions in certain age groups, and the use of this vaccine at vulnerable times was common.

The study was conducted by UKHSA specialists who said while Omicron did weaken existing jabs in some cases, it is still not as effective as originally thought.  

According to data confidentially provided to ministers, Omicron accounts for 30% of all new Covid cases in London. This highlights the seriousness of Britain’s situation in the lead-up to Christmas. There are growing concerns that more restrictive measures may be necessary.  

UK officials were today dragged to Cobra meetings by Cobra leaders in order to talk about the next logical steps towards fighting the pandemic as well as analyze the most recent evidence concerning the super-mutant strain. 

After testing positive, Communities Secretary Michael Gove held the briefing virtual after identifying London and Scotland hotspots. According to Gove, the most recent data provided by the devolved states was’very difficult’. 

Stark projections indicate that the super-mutant variant may become dominant in a matter of days. This raises concerns about Boris Johnson’s ability to push the panic button again. 

No10 already has its backup Plan B strategy. It reimposes work-from home guidance, and makes face masks mandatory in more places. Officials repeatedly denied that they would rule out any further actions.

There are stronger options that could be replicated in light of last year’s second wave. This effectively cancelled Christmas for many living in places worst affected by Alpha such as London. 

London appears to be suffering badly, Omicron is suspected to be to blame. Government data shows London has the fastest-growing Covid outbreak in England. Omicron is being found in all of the 32 boroughs. 

While deaths and hospitalisations in capital are flat, both these measures are behind several weeks due the length of time that it takes for someone to get seriously ill from the virus. 

The capital’s public health chiefs say that they take the threat to their lives ‘extremely serious’ and it can overtake the city within two weeks.

Scotland is another Omicron hotspot. Concerns about a ‘tsunami of cases’ prompted Nicola Sturgeon today to introduce tighter self-isolation guidelines. She announced that all families must now self-isolate if one person in their family tests positive for the virus. 

Following this afternoon’s Cobra briefing Mr Gove stated that he had just presided over a meeting with the First Ministers from all devolved Administrations and was given some challenging information.

“We are aware that the UK has the most Covid-related infections since January 9th, we know this. We are aware that the Omicron variant of Covid is increasing in frequency every two-three days in England. It could be even more in Scotland.

“We know Omicron variants are responsible for 30 percent of London’s reported cases, but we identified Omicron only a fortnight before.

The number of Omicron-related cases in Britain jumped by 54% over a single day, with 448 more confirmed. Officially, it was 1,200. However, the Omicron death toll has risen to 20, with health authorities admitting that true numbers could rise to as much as 20%. In fact surveillance data indicates that at least 10% of cases are already being reported. That’s equivalent to about 4,000 deaths per day. 

After Britain’s Covid cases jumped 15% in the past week, another 58.194 Covid cases have been recorded since today as the mutation takes root. Hospitalisations rose six percent in seven days and there were 839 admissions. The death rate was more than one tenth.

A promising sign is that booster jabs are 70-75% effective in stopping Omicron-related infections, according to a study.

Confidential UK Health Security Agency data showed that Omicron may now be behind 8.5 per cent of infections. The figures are based on the proportion of PCR tests failing to detect a specific gene, an early indicator of the variant. PCRs look for three genes to confirm a Covid infection, but with Omicron one is so mutated that they only pick up two of them. The analysis was done by Professor Alastair Grant, a Covid modeller at the University of East Anglia, who has access to the secret statistics

Omicron is suspected to be responsible for around 8.5% of the infections, according to Confidential UK Health Security Agency Data. These figures were based upon the percentage of PCR tests that failed to identify a particular gene. This is an indicator of the variant. To confirm Covid infection, PCR tests look for three genes. Omicron however only allows them to pick up two. The secret statistics were available to Professor Alastair Grant at the University of East Anglia who performed the analysis.