SAGE scientists suggested today that tighter coronavirus restrictions may be on the horizon as they cautioned the government’s “Plan B” does not sufficiently stop Omicron.

Boris Johnson activated the Covid contingency planning plan in an emergency response to this highly-mutated strain. He was told it could lead to a quarter of a million cases and 1000 daily NHS admissions if unchecked.

The Prime Minister is facing fury from several senior backbenchers over the anti-Omicron measures which include widespread working from home, more mask-wearing and vaccine passports.

But Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of No10’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has warned that we ‘need much more severe restrictions to turn it around’. 

Plan B will’slow down the spread’, but they won’t stop it from happening. Yesterday, Professor Neil Ferguson of SAGE, one the top modelers warned that an all-out lockdown may be necessary to safeguard Omicron’s NHS.

Sajid Javid the Health Secretary claimed that Plan B’s measures were “proportionate”, but acknowledged they are under constant review. After millions of people were denied seeing loved ones in Alpha last year, there are concerns that Britons might be again subject to the last-minute Christmas curbs.

SAGE modeller Dr Mike Tildesley hinted at a watered down Christmas this year, claiming that it was ‘very important’ to allow families to be together this year — but in a ‘safe way’. 

Johnson hinted at the possibility of Covid jabs becoming mandatory, saying last night that Downing Street would need to have a national conversation about the subject. Johnson said that vaccine passports are currently only being used for large-scale events, but they might be extended to more people. 

Independent scientists are lobbying the Government to take more aggressive measures. Independent SAGE is a group of experts that refers to zero Covid, and tells ministers to “bring in additional measures now… so we might be able to prevent a lockdown.” 

Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of No10's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has warned that even the new raft of measures are 'not going to turn it around'

SAGE modeller Dr Mike Tildesley hinted at a watered down Christmas this year, claiming that it was 'very important' to allow families to be together this year — but in a 'safe way'

Andrew Hayward is a member No10’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. He has stated that the new rafts of measures are unable to reverse the situation. SAGE modeller Dr Mike Tildesley hinted at a watered down Christmas this year, claiming that it was ‘very important’ to allow families to be together this year — but in a ‘safe way’

Minutes after Wednesday’s SAGE emergency meeting, Omicron was declared the dominant strain. This would trigger an influx of hospitalizations to rival those experienced in the past.

According to scientists, there would be approximately 1,000 admissions each day in England this month. The number will continue increasing and is expected to rise further.

Although the virus is not confirmed in any of the 568 Omicron patients, it can take several weeks for the patient to become seriously ill.

How do the Covid rules change in England?

Boris Johnson today announced that the Government will implement its Covid Plan B. 

This means: 


Guidance on returning to work at home. If they’re able, people will be instructed to work remotely in England starting Monday.

Facial maskYou can find it here 

Starting Friday, all public indoor venues will require facemasks. These masks will be not required at bars, restaurants or gyms.

Vaccine passports 

Access to clubs and large gathering places will require the NHS Covid Pass. 

All unseated indoor venues that have more than 500 guests, all outdoor unseated venues that hold more than 4,000 people, and every venue hosting more than 10,000 persons will be subject to this rule. 

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

Also, a negative lateral flow test is sufficient. 

To allow businesses to plan, this requirement will be implemented in a week. 

Get in touch 

Omicron contacts will be instructed to undergo daily coronavirus testing instead of self-isolating. If they are positive, they will be quarantined.    

SAGE advised: “The total scale of any wave hospitalisations with no interventions is highly uncertain. However, the peak could be several times that level.”

According to preliminary UK data and South Africa’s current trajectory, Omicron makes vaccines and previous infection less effective in stopping transmission.

Although scientists will not know the true extent of its evasive capabilities for many weeks, SAGE warns that even a slight decrease in effectiveness could lead to high admissions. 

SAGE’s Professor Hayward from University College London told Sky News today, “Viruses are moving quickly so we need to react fast.”

According to him, a doubling of the peak every 2/3 days is’very quick’ and that ‘you will get a large peak’.

‘And it’s a bit like if you think of a month’s worth of rain falling in a few days, that leads to flooding and it’s a similar type of scenario… we can reduce that by reducing social mixing and allow time to slow the virus down and get vaccine into more people’s arms.’

The Plan B measures would’slow down the spread’, but not ‘turn it around.’ He added: “I believe you would need to have much more severe restrictions to turn this around. But I think the encouraging part is that we are starting to see that that third dose is actually providing better immunity. It’s much better than just the two.

‘So this idea of slowing it down… more social distancing, not going to work if you don’t have to, not going on public transport to go to work when you don’t have to, will make a difference.

“I think that it’s extremely difficult to predict if this’ll be sufficient but I believe it’s an essential initial move.”

SAGE acknowledged that Omicron may be weaker than Delta. ICU rates in South Africa are now about 60% lower, while ventilator rates have fallen 70%.

But Professor Andrew Hayward added that even if the severity of Omicron compared to Delta ‘was reduced to a moderate or to even quite a large extent, if you’ve got many-fold more cases at one time than you would have done, that’s when you’re going to get this flood of cases in the NHS and the NHS doesn’t have a huge amount of capacity.

“Also, Germany has less than twice the number of hospitals beds. So we have less to choose from.

Dr Tildesley is a member the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling (SpiM) group within SAGE. He could not agree on whether or not Christmas parties should be held.

According to him, the Today program was a difficult task because he believes we must be accountable.

This slide was shown at a gloomy Downing Street press conference last night. It indicates the number of PCR tests where one of the three genes it tests for does not show up, an early sign of an Omicron infection. These are doubling every two to three days at present

The slide was presented at the Downing Street Press Conference last night. This is an indication of how many PCR tests fail to detect one of three genes, a sign that Omicron infections are early. At the moment, they are doubled every 2 to 3 days

Britain is currently recording around 50,000 cases a day and Professor Whitty warns the country could face a Delta wave on top of the Omicron variant

Britain currently records around 50,000 cases per day. Professor Whitty says the country may face a Delta wave in addition to the Omicron variant. 

There are 757 hospital admissions per day in the UK, and 680 in England. (England is shown above). Members of SAGE suggested previously that 1200 admissions per day would trigger more restriction with Delta

“It is important to recognize that the variant we are dealing with hasn’t disappeared, so it is something that must be considered. We must, however, consider people’s mental well-being and health.

Boris Johnson raises concern about mandatory jabs

Boris Johnson suggested last night that coronavirus jabs might eventually become compulsory. Covid passes could also be expanded in society if there is a substantial population still not vaccinated.

According to the Prime Minister, this Government will now activate its Plan B in order to reinstate work-from-home guidance, require masks to be worn indoors and demand that people show Covid cards to access nightclubs.

These measures will be implemented across England to stop the spread of Omicron disease.

Johnson stated that a “national conversation” is necessary to discuss how the country will deal with the virus in the future.

His statement that he believes the Government cannot ‘keep on indefinitely with no-pharmaceutical interventions’ was a sign that mandatory jabs or restricted access could be considered for the unvaccinated.

The new measures include outreach efforts in low-income communities and the extension of Covid passes at more locations.

Johnson, who was hosting a Downing Street Press Conference, was asked by an audience member if the Government would follow in the footsteps of European nations and make vaccinations mandatory.

Johnson responded to a question on the possibility of compulsory jabs being introduced at the Downing Street Press conference last night: “I think we need to have national conversations about the best way forward as well as the ways we can protect people who don’t get vaccinated because they are unable to do so.

“We had a very, really difficult year in the Christmas period, so I believe it’s important to allow people to come together, but also to have safety together.

While the government has stated that Christmas parties must go ahead, businesses have preempted this advice and cancelled.

Independent SAGE member Dr Zubaida Haque accused ministers mixed messages after encouraging people to work at home, but encouraging them to have fun on the weekends.

The Health Secretary stated that the move to Plan B was made to prevent the risk of Omicron infection by the end the year.

The sudden change in Government policy to tackle the virus in England was defended by the Health Secretary. This included an extension to mask-wearing starting Friday and a return of working at home Monday. Mandatory Covid passports are required for large venues beginning Wednesday.

While Mr. Javid recognized that these decisions have a “real impact” on our liberties, the man insisted that taking immediate action is the best way to ensure we don’t end up with tougher sanctions later.

When he made the announcements in the Commons, he was met with a torrent of Tory criticism.

Conservative anger is fuelled by the suspicion that new measures were put in place to distract attention from Prime Minister’s woes over an alleged Downing Street party hosted by staff members during December lockdown.

According to Mr Javid, the vaccine programme is necessary in order to protect ourselves against the Omicron virus that has been rapidly spreading.

Sky News’ Mr Javid said that the doubling rate is between two and a half to three days. This would lead to approximately one million infections within the UK community by the end.

We’ve been very clear about the fact that data can change or move in the opposite direction. It looked as though the NHS could be under pressure. That would mean that not only would we not have the ability to provide emergency care for Covid, but for any other reason, such as a car accident.

It’s not something I enjoy, and no one does. Many people find it very challenging to do this job, so asking them to be able work remotely or wear face masks is an affront to our freedoms.

“But, I hope people understand that taking action immediately can help us avoid unnecessary action in the future.

Pfizer study shows that Omicron jabs won’t stop Omicron infection, but they can help reduce serious illnesses. 

Omicron infection can be prevented by two doses of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine, but boosters are recommended to stop the ‘diseases of any severity’ that may result from super-mutant. Data were presented today.

Omicron has caused chaos in South Africa since its discovery last month. Omicron is a drug company that insists two vaccines “may still provide protection against severe diseases”. Independent scientists think the same thing will happen for vaccines like AstraZeneca.

Pfizer said that antibody levels in fully-vaccinated patients will drop 25 times against the transmissible strain. The company also warned that two doses of vaccine’may be not sufficient to prevent infection. 

Preliminary laboratory tests showed a third Pfizer vaccine triggers a ‘more robust’ antibody response to Omicron, similar to two doses against previous strains of Covid — suggesting the boosters will thwart the mutant strain. This vaccine also increases the immune system. The immune system is given an additional boost by increasing the number of T cells, which can help protect it against serious diseases.  

Company officials today revealed millions of doses of a new version of its vaccine tailored to the mutant strain — which has already been developed — won’t be ready until March if the current crop of jabs fail in the real world. 

This comes after two studies were released that show vaccines work more effectively than anticipated against Omicron. Omicron is rapidly spreading across Britain, and No10 has had to resort to its “Plan B” to keep the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.

South African researchers found that people fully immunized with Pfizer have 40-times less antibodies to Omicron than other varieties. The research’s lead author, however, said that the findings are better than anticipated.

A second study, also by Swedish virologists, found that Omicron is being less effectively neutralised in humans after receiving jabs. However, Karolinska Institute researchers claimed that this decline wasn’t seen in everybody. In fact, one of the paper’s authors said the fall was lower than they had feared. 

A World Health Organization official maintained that Omicron vaccines must still be effective, while admitting Omicron’s milder strains to his rivals Beta and Delta.  

These new regulations are going to be debated and voted on in the Commons this week. Labour will support them, so they should be approved, even though there’s a possibility of an uproar from the Conservatives.

The Tory bench measures are likely to have exacerbated unease. The Sun mocked Prime Minister David Cameron as The Grinch. The Daily Mail contrasted plan B announcements with Downing Street Christmas parties, saying, ‘One rule is for them, and new rules for us all’.

The Daily Telegraph was written by Dominic Cummings, a former aide to Johnson. It carried the headline “Don’t go work but go to parties” – which refers to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s suggestions that festivities should continue this year, despite his call for office closures.

Marcus Fysh, Tory MP, described plans to introduce Covid health certificates in an expression of anger.

He stated that vaccination passports are “a huge imposition upon our liberties” on BBC Radio 4.

He said, “It is a disgrace they are pursuing that. It’s an utter disgrace.”

He charged Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief physician and Government scientist advisers with having an ‘history that over-egging data and choosing data points that fit their narrative’.

Before their January 26 expiry, the Plan B plans will be reviewed.

Steve Baker was a former minister and a well-known figure in the Covid Recovery Group of Conservatives. He stated that it’s vital for ‘vital to’ have the’maximum amount of Conservative MPs oppose Plan B.

Critics maintained that Downing Street’s 2020 events had undermined the Government’s message.

Allegra Stratton, Johnson’s ex-spokeswoman, quit following footage showing her laughing about the Christmas party she attended at a mock conference. Simon Case is now investigating what took place in Downing Street on December 18, 2020.

Another series of allegations has been filed about senior Tories, officials, and others involved during the lockdown.

David Davis, an ex-minister, asked: “How are you going to pursue people who do not obey it given all the other parties?”

Peston told ITV that the main issue lies with the Government’s authority to implement a “new lockdown”. People see it as a threat and wonder why they should. They and we again.

On Wednesday, data showed that 568 Omicron cases were confirmed in the UK. However, the real number is ‘probably closer than 10,000,’ Mr Javid stated.

Sky News was informed by Professor Andrew Hayward of University College London’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies that the virus “is moving very quickly” and that it is important to respond fast.

He said, “It’s kind of like that a lot of rain can fall in a matter of days. It leads to flooding. But we can minimize that by social mixing. This will allow us to reduce the spread of the virus and give more time for people to get vaccines.