What will it take for them to make up their mind? Their confused advice about Christmas party planning from ministers

Prime Minister Boris Johnson: Don’t cancel your Christmas party

 ‘People should live their lives. We are not changing the guidance on how you should basically be living your life… Providing people continue to be cautious and sensible, we think that’s the right approach.

“We remain in a strong place largely because of the speed of vaccine rollout. We also had another booster rollout. And I think that’s why I decided to keep using the same formula as before. This is because I feel confident enough to know this Christmas will be better than previous Christmases. 

Health Minister Gillian Keegan: Continue with your festive plans

Continue your Christmas planning, and continue your Nativity Plays and Christmas Parties

“Officially, Christmas is on track. But if it’s not your first jab or your second, go and get it. Come and get your booster if it’s your turn. 

Sajid Javid Health Secretary: Do a skin test, and then wear a mask

“If you’re invited to Christmas parties, you’ll find quite a lot of people. Maybe you should take an LFT test (lateral flow testing) before you go. You should go to the party but be careful.

If he were asked whether he would wear an mask to a party, Mr. Javid answered: “It all depends on if I’m walking or sitting down. It all depends on what I am eating. The guidance is all that’s needed to help people make decisions.

Therese Coffeey: There is no snogging beneath the mistletoe

“For all its worth, I think that there shouldn’t be too much snogging underneath the mistletoe.

“(You) do not have to do such things. But, I feel we should all try to enjoy Christmas. That’s why we work so hard for the deployment as many vaccines possible. 

“Christmas should be something we continue to look forward to and be happy about.” She said that snogging with people you do not know should be avoided. 

George Freeman: Limit your invites to five 

Businesses must ultimately decide for themselves what is right.

“It depends on the type of business. Small businesses often have four to five employees, many of whom work together daily. Having a few drinks is no big risk.

“But companies could normally invite hundreds of people from around the globe to an enormous party. They may then decide that this is sensible in light of the current pandemic.

“In the final, I think that business people understand how to make those decision. Clear guidance has been provided by the Government.   

Today’s business minister declared it would be sensible for Christmas parties in Britain to be restricted to four or five people or to be eliminated entirely. This is because Britain’s restaurants, pubs and clubs feel that the confusing government advice will cause them great harm.

George Freeman, the Under Secretary for State for Science, revealed that the department’s party was being cancelled and changed to Zoom.

Mr Freeman is the fifth minister to give different advice about Christmas parties with half of businesses cancelling this year costing UK hospitality ‘billions’.

Boris Johnson insisted on the fact that it is unnecessary to cancel this holiday and that people should just live as they are because he feels this Christmas will be better than previous ones.

Yesterday, Sajid Javid caused anger among hospitality managers when he encouraged partygoers to undergo a Covid screening. They could even consider wearing masks, according to the Health Secretary. Yet one of his health ministers, Gillian Keegan, urged: ‘Continue with your Christmas plans, continue with your nativity plays and your Christmas parties’

Last night Therese Coffey sent more mixed messages on socialising after she warned that people should Avoid snogging beneath the mistletoe during the holiday season.

There was even more chaos when Dr Jenny Harries, chief of UK Health Security Agency(UKHSA), suggested that December should be a time for people to limit their socializing. Tory MPs suspect that this was a plot to make her the fall guy for ministers afraid of imposing further restrictions. 

Plunging party plans into further chaos this morning George Freeman said lCompanies that are greedy might cancel their Christmas party. 

According to him, it all depends on what business you are running. A small business with four or five people, most of whom are already working in the same place every day, is likely to not be at risk. Gathering for a drink together doesn’t pose a major threat. Some companies may bring in hundreds of people from all over the globe to host a large party. But this year they might question whether that is sensible considering the current pandemic. I think that business people are able to make such decisions.

He continued, “I’ve not been kissed beneath the mistletoe in years.” My parliamentary team usually throws a Christmas party. This year, we decided that Zoom would be a better option than waiting for spring. The party won’t be great. 

Although Mr Freeman claims that the Government provides clear guidelines, it appears there is a 50-50 split of live and virtual Christmas parties. Some people will be patient and wait for next year.

Richard Corrigan, Chef/patron of Corrigan’s Mayfair, said: ‘This was the Christmas that was supposed to save us. This is clearly not the case. There have been enough cancellations by corporate entities. The cancellations are also displayed on the bookings. It isn’t business as usual. It will become a complete crisis for hospitality in April.

Russell Norman from Bruto said to the Telegraph, “If there is one thing that I have noticed about our customers it’s absolute confusion. As they go between the tables and the bars, people don’t know whether they need to wear masks. People want a clear, positive message. People are anxious and need guidance. 

The Christmas party row and new covid regulations that were enshrined into law through March led to: 

  • Ministers purchased 114 million more coronavirus doses Vaccines can be modified to guard against new varieties with the fourth and fifth boosters scheduled until 2023.    
  • No 10 claims its staff followed the guidelines despite reports of a christmas party that violated social distancing regulations being held at the venue last December.
  • Many businesses allow their employees to work at home, and they can bring back temperature and mask-wearing equipment from the office. 
  • Shamed Matt Hancock apologises again in first TV interview since losing his job and wife over office affair and declares: ‘I’ve blown up every part of my life’;
Ministers and Boris Johnson's top scientists have all given different advice about whether to hold a Christmas party

Boris Johnson and Ministers gave different opinions on the question of whether to have a Christmas party

Prime Minister Boris Johnson switches on the Christmas tree lights outside 10 Downing Street in London yesterday evening

Yesterday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson switched on Christmas lights at 10 Downing Street in London.

Chief executive of UK Hospitality trade group Kate Nicholls stated that ministers’ remarks would have serious financial consequences for their companies.

Ms. Nicholls explained that there was a “return to uncertainty” once more. The weekend’s messaging clearly had a chilling impact on consumer confidence. We are beginning to notice a few cancellations.

“It is a trickle at present…but we need that message reinforced stronger to put an end of the uncertainty and threat of a slow-start economy again during the Christmas season.”

She said, “I believe there is also a feeling of trepidation about their plans being disrupted again. So that regardless of whether government controls are imposed on economy, that is having undoubtedly a cooling effect on hospitality.

We already noticed that this year’s bookings have been lower than they were in the pre-pandemic period. This will have an even greater impact on our business.

Mike Cherry is the National Chairman of Federation of Small Businesses. He called on government to provide more clarity.

He said, “As the festive season begins in earnest, clarity, consistency, and proactive promotion of oficial advice are more crucial than ever.”

“If this advice says to keep going with the plans with safety measures, such as ventilation, screen, ventilation, masks, testing, hand sanitizer, screens and screens in place, small companies have been investing over the last 18 months in those, then it needs to be stated clearly.

The executive chairman of an important ad agency stated that there have been cancellations of Christmas parties following the Omicron version’s emergence.

S4Capital founder Sir Martin Sorrell stated that there’s ‘extreme uncertainty’.

When asked if they would cancel office parties, he replied to BBC Radio Four Today: “It doesn’t really matter what we do but what we see clients doing.”

“The short answer is that they’re cancelling. There has been quite a series of cancellations ever since the last time this occurred, which was three, four or five days ago.

“So, there is uncertainty and extreme Government policy. I understandably feel a little sympathy for the Government. This is an extraordinarily difficult situation.

“We’ve seen this happen before, with Delta and other variations. You would think that the Government would be better prepared to deal with any eventuality in scenario planning. 

After a minister said last night that Christmas should be socialized, the government was accused of sending mixed messages about it. Avoid snogging beneath the mistletoe during the holiday.

This comes just hours after Boris Johnson contradicted Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer, yesterday by saying Christmas parties can go ahead. Hours after Jenny Harries had stated that Britons shouldn’t socialize due to concerns about the Omicron cornavirus variant that emerged, she said that Johnson was saying this after Johnson. 

Threety-two cases (of the highly-mutated strain) have been identified in the UK. This was after the strain was initially discovered in Africa.   

Sajid Javid, a partygoer who was urged to complete a Covid exam by his bosses, caused quite a stir among the hospitality industry. They could even consider wearing face masks, according to the Health Secretary.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey then went further, and told ITV’s Peston programme that ‘we should all be trying to enjoy the Christmas ahead of us’, adding: ‘For what it’s worth, I don’t think there should be much snogging under the mistletoe.’

“(You) do not have to do such things. We should be able to all enjoy Christmas, and this is why I’m working to make sure that as many vaccines are available as possible. Ms. Coffey advised against kissing people she doesn’t know.   

It was discovered that Omicron is threatening office Christmas parties.  It has been suggested that some employees work from home due to concerns about the strain. DesignMyNight Events Company has stated that cancelations of Christmas parties rose by 15% following the Prime Minister’s initial press conference, which took place on Saturday. There was more to come after Tuesday’s speech.

Restaurants and hotels across the country have been able to reveal that their lost bookings had caused them to lose thousands of pounds.  

Ministers were accused of inducing companies to send staff home during December, and to cancel Christmas parties due to the Omicron strain Covid-19. SAGE scientists demanded that all UK visitors be placed into quarantine for five consecutive days to allow them to undergo a predeparture PCR test.

Boris Johnson stated in March that shops must have face covers to prevent the spread of this virus. However, he also promised to give vaccines and jabs to over 40 million people by January 31, to stop it spreading.

The Prime Minister also spoke at the Downing Street press conference Tuesday night, insisting that another lockdown is unlikely.

Critics claim that the latest Government coronavirus regulations on masks and blanket quarantine Omicron contact information, as well as gloomy language regarding the threat from the new variant are actually encouraging semi-lockdowns by stealth, despite only 22 new cases.

Officials from the World Health Organization claimed that Omicron cases in most cases are mild and no evidence has been found to show that this new variant affects vaccine effectiveness for serious illnesses.

Sajid javid encouraged people, amid mixed messages being made against him, to be more’sensible’ than others and to attend Christmas parties. Before trying to slow down the Omicron spread, he also recommended that millions take a lateral flow exam. According to the Health Secretary, there is no guarantee that Christmas will be free from lockdowns.

Google has written to UK staff asking them to “move any planned social gatherings up to 2022” and to limit the number to just 15 people. Ronan Harris, Vice President and MD for Google UK & Ireland, also told workers that face-to-face business meetings and events must be approved by a company director.

Even though the Government has advised against it, UK companies are scrambling to reinstate restrictions in offices such as mask wearing in public areas like corridors and lifts. Aviva Insurance is offering daily lateral flow exams to its employees. EY is just one of many large businesses that ask staff to cover their faces when they are not working.

Sir Christopher Chope is a Tory MP who claimed that Prime Minister’s regulations were ‘particular of a scaremongering propagandist campaign that is actually designed to restrict and stop interaction among social animals. These regulations are designed to restrict freedom and social contact and use unreasonable fear-mongering.

Alec Shelbrooke is Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell. He said that he received numerous emails from potential travel agencies in his constituency, whose bookings had fallen off a cliff due to the high cost of PCR testing’. Businesses who rely on employees at work will feel worse if they get encouragement to work from home.

Anybody who comes in contact with Omicron cases must self-isolate within ten days.

According to some, bosses were worried about the possibility of multiple employees being quarantined by an outbreak.

Hospitality chiefs and Tory MPs believe the mixed messages – Boris Johnson has said people should ‘keep living your life’ – was having a ‘chilling effect on consumer confidence’.

Steve Baker, who spoke out in opposition to new coronavirus controls in the Commons, stated that the public required ‘clarity’ and not “Christmas killjoys”.

According to the Tory ex-minister, “People are tired and sick of this level micromanagement of our lives.” They want to be free and joyful, and they want to be free and joyful at Christmas – without the Christmas killjoys.’

Officials from the World Health Organisation suggested that Omicron sufferers have so far had few symptoms, or only mild ones. 

No one of the 32 cases confirmed in the UK was admitted to hospital. Ministers have already introduced face masks on buses and in shops, and tightened self isolation rules. The rollout of boosters is to also be accelerated.  

Mr Johnson exits 10 Downing Street as a children's choir sings during the ceremony to switch on the Downing Street Christmas tree lights in London on Wednesday

As a children’s chorus sings, Mr Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street during Wednesday’s ceremony to turn on the Downing Street Christmas tree lights.

Therese Coffey

Sajid Javid

After festive events being cancelled due to the Omicron variant, ministers Therese and Sajid Javid were warned not to become ‘Christmas killjoys’ Wednesday night.

Boris Johnson listens to a children's choir during the ceremony to switch on the Downing Street Christmas tree lights today

Boris Johnson listens as a children’s choir performs during the switch-on ceremony of the Downing Street Christmas tree lights.

Jenny Harries (public health chief) urged against unnecessary socializing during the Christmas season. This prompted a row. She was later discredited by the Prime Minister, who advised against unnecessary socializing in the lead-up to Christmas.

Last night, however, it was reported that Christmas party cancellations were caused by staff from magazines and NHS trusts. Many employers tell their employees to go home and work from home, or to implement Covid security precautions in the office.

Kate Nicholls of UK Hospitality said that the messaging from the weekend affected consumer confidence. She also noted that there are now a few cancellations.

Mike Cherry from the Federation of Small Businesses stated: “As this season begins in earnest, clarity, consistency, proactive promotion of oficial advice is more crucial than ever.

According to Professor Andrew Hayward from the Sage advisory team, people need to avoid Christmas parties and at minimum wear masks.

The Prime Minister pictured applauding after switching on the Christmas lights in Downing Street this evening

Picture of the Prime Minister applauding as he switched on the Christmas lights in Downing Street tonight

The Prime Minister stands in front of a crowd after switching on the Downing Street Christmas tree lights this evening

After turning on the Downing Street Christmas tree lights for this evening, Prime Minister Standing in Front of Crowd

Mr Johnson is seen standing next to a children's choir and band after switching on the Christmas tree lights in Downing Street

After switching on the Christmas tree lights at Downing Street, Mr Johnson can be seen next to children’s chorus and band.

Mr Johnson applauds and looks up at the Downing Street Christmas tree after turning on its lights on Wednesday

After turning the lights on on Wednesday, Mr Johnson cheers and gazes up at Downing Street’s Christmas tree.

Revealed: An Israeli triple-vaccinated doctor claims he was exposed to Omicron Covid variant while in London for a conference that 1250 attendees attended on 23 November. It is the same strain discovered in Africa.

Martin Robinson Chief Reporter, MailOnline.

After claiming that he was infected by the Omicron strain during a London conference attended by 1,250 people, a triple-vaccinated Israeli physician has raised concerns about the possibility of the Omicron variant being in Britain for several weeks.

Elad Marra, 45, traveled to Jerusalem on November 19. She stayed in Islington as she attended three days of ExCeL London’s convention. 

A father-of-3, Sheba Medical Centre near Tel Aviv, found out that he had the virus after a four-day wait. The symptoms included a mild sore throat, fever, and muscle ache.

On November 20, 21, and 24, he took three PCR test results, all of which were negative. He later developed symptoms after returning to Israel and taking a fourth PCR test, which returned a positive result.

Dr Maor, who is now quarantining at home in Israel, appears to be certain that he picked up the variant while attending the conference, saying: ‘I got the Omicron in London, for sure.’ 

Elad Maor (pictured above), 45, travelled to London on November 19 and stayed at a hotel in Islington while attending the three-day convention at ExCeL London in Newham, east London, before returning to Israel

Elad (pictured above), 45 years old, traveled from Israel to London on Nov 19, and stayed in an Islington hotel while she attended the three-day ExCeL London Convention in Newham.

SAGE demands mandatory 5-day isolation and a ‘fit-to fly’ test for UK arrivals

SAGE recommends that UK immigrants be put in quarantine for at least five days before being allowed to leave the country.

According to the expert panel, the existing travel bans are allowing infected individuals to slip through.

Currently, anyone who has been fully vaccinated and intends to enter the UK must take a PCR test within two days after returning.

Nothing can stop them from doing this right away and receiving a response the very next day. They will be freed within hours of landing, which is incredibly convenient.

SAGE scientists warned that such a short time frame might not be enough for the virus’s incubation. Ministers should also bring day 5 and 8 tests.

Unvaccinated individuals entering the UK must pass ‘fit-to fly’ checks before they can board a flight back home.

SAGE’s latest advice was leaked in minutes from an emergency meeting on Monday about Omicron.

The video conference, which was hosted by Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance as chief medical advisors respectively, attracted more than 30 scientists.

He told The Guardian: ‘That is interesting because that was 10 days ago in London – really, really early.’  

Dr Maor is also convinced that he may have infected his 69-year old colleague worker. He has now tested positive for Omicron varietal after returning from London.

Pointing to a delay between the time of infection and when the PCR turns positive, he added: ‘The only reasonable explanation is that I got infected on the last day of the meeting – maybe at the airport, maybe at the meeting.’

Associate professor of Cardiology from Tel Aviv University stated that he commuted via the Tube and Docklands Light Railways (DLR) during the three-day conference. 

His comments come as Dr. Anthony Fauci announces the first detected case of the Omicron variant in the US, saying it was identified by the San Francisco Departments of Public Health in California. 

Fauci stated that the person had been returned to South Africa from November 22, and was positive for HIV a week later, on November 29.

Although he or she had been fully vaccinated and received an additional booster, he/she is experiencing only mild symptoms. 

Boris Johnson spoke in the UK while Boris Johnson added that rules were enshrined into law in England until March. Face coverings should be worn at all times in shops or public transportation to “buy us time in front of this new variant”.

To combat its spread, the Prime Minister pledged that he would ‘throw all’ at booster vaccination campaigns and give jabs for 40million people over 18 by 31 January.

But in the same Downing Street press conference last night Mr Johnson insisted another lockdown is ‘extremely unlikely’, urging people not to cancel their plans and to ‘keep living your life’.

Critics say the Government’s latest coronavirus rules on masks, blanket quarantine for Omicron contacts and gloomy language about the threat of the new variant is actually encouraging a semi-lockdown by stealth despite just 22 cases of the new strain detected so far. 

On Tuesday, there were no deaths or infections in the UK. A World Health Organization official stated on Wednesday that Omicron cases are mostly’mild’. There is no evidence to suggest the new Omicron variant will have any effect on the effectiveness of vaccines against severe illness. 

Sir Keir Starmer

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Johnson clashed at PMQs over Covid rules. This lunchtime, the PM was confronted by a revolt of Tory MPs

The Government has insisted the rules will be reviewed in three weeks' time but Tory MPs, including former chief whip Mark Harper, have expressed concerns about the expiry date

While the Government insists that the rules will still be reviewed within three weeks, Tory MPs including Mark Harper (ex-chief whip) have raised concerns over the date.

Omicron Covid first appeared in Nigeria on OCTOBER – weeks ahead of South Africa’s announcement about a variant.

Nigeria confirmed the first Omicron Covid cases and made it public in October. This was weeks after South Africa had alerted the rest of the world.

The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control announced today that three Omicron cases have been identified in travelers who came from South Africa to Nigeria in the last week.

Director Dr Ifedayo Adetifa said that retroactive testing of Covid samples taken in the past weeks has identified an additional case of Omicron that dates back to October.

Omicron was the ‘variant in concern’ of the WHO. It is thought to have circulated for many weeks without being detected. 

Just a few days ago, Dutch health authorities reported that they found Omicron bacteria in an Omicron sample taken from a patient on November 19. This was just four days before South Africa issued the alert.

The Nigerian Omicron infection would have been confirmed if it was confirmed. This will rewrite the history of this variant’s origins.

It does not mean that the Nigerian variant has emerged, however. The reason for the collection of the sample is unknown. Dr Adetifa didn’t give any details.

Nigeria is a country in West Africa that tests travelers into the country. This means it’s possible for the cases to have been imported.

It was assumed that the variant originated in Southern Africa, where it was first detected by South African scientists on November 23, in a Botswana-sourced sample.

The three Nigerian cases that were recently reported are all from South African travellers who took a Day 2PCR test and had samples taken within the past week.

The exact date of collection is not known. Nigeria claims that they are working to locate and isolate these individuals.