Nicola Sturgeon at the moment cancelled massive scale New Yr celebrations as she unveiled extra coronavirus restrictions to sluggish the unfold of the Omicron variant.   

The Scottish First Minister mentioned the recommendation for Christmas Day stays unchanged, with folks allowed to fulfill with household however urged to be cautious. 

However from December 26 for 3 weeks there might be attendance limits positioned on dwell public occasions which can torpedo Hogmanay celebrations. 

The boundaries won’t apply to non-public life occasions like weddings, however Ms Sturgeon mentioned for indoor standing occasions the restrict might be 100, for indoor seated occasions it will likely be 200 and for outside occasions 500 seated or standing. 

This can imply that from Boxing Day soccer and different sporting matches in Scotland will successfully be spectator-free.          

Ms Sturgeon additionally mentioned that from December 27 the Scottish Authorities is advising folks to return to limiting their social contacts ‘as a lot as you probably can’.

She mentioned: ‘Please keep at dwelling as a lot as is possible. Once you do exit, preserve bodily distancing from folks not in your personal group.’    

The choices will pile the strain on Boris Johnson after he yesterday delayed making a choice on imposing new coronavirus curbs in England. 

Ms Sturgeon appeared to fireplace a shot on the Prime Minister as she mentioned ‘we all know from expertise that if we wait till the info tells us conclusively that we’ve got an issue for instance with hospital admissions, it’ll already be too late to behave to keep away from that drawback’. 

Her bulletins got here after Rishi Sunak unveiled a £1billion bailout for stricken companies at the moment as Boris Johnson sits on the fence over Covid curbs amid infighting amongst ministers and high scientists.

The Chancellor has introduced grants of as much as £6,000 premises for hospitality and leisure corporations being crippled by a wave of cancellations following the emergence of the Omicron pressure. 

The taxpayer will even cowl the price of statutory sick pay for Covid-related absences for firms with fewer than 250 workers.   

The transfer – which was given a broad welcome by trade – comes regardless of the PM declaring final evening that there might be no extra restrictions but, defying large strain from specialists who warn the NHS is susceptible to being overwhelmed by the mutant pressure.

Mr Johnson admitted the choice was ‘finely balanced’ – with hypothesis that the federal government might nonetheless must act with a ‘circuit breaker’ earlier than New Yr if new essential proof due at the moment and tomorrow present the state of affairs deteriorating rapidly. They embody an evaluation from an Imperial School group on the severity of Omicron. 

Nevertheless, it now appears too late to usher in any authorized restrictions earlier than December 25, with the premier having vowed to present restive MPs a say upfront. 

Nicola Sturgeon at the moment heaped strain on Mr Johnson by tightening the principles north of the border from December 27, urging folks to not combine with different households till the top of the primary week in January – together with Hogmanay. Desk service might be reintroduced in hospitality venues, and there have to be a one-metre hole between teams.  

The SNP chief mentioned crowds at massive public occasions might be restricted for 3 weeks after Boxing Day – with soccer matches successfully changing into ‘spectator free’. 

The holding line got here after an extended and ‘fractious’ Cupboard assembly, the place ministers together with Mr Sunak demanded extra strong proof on the menace from the Omicron variant earlier than signing off on additional measures.

There was heavy criticism of the declare from SAGE modellers that deaths might attain 6,000 a day within the worst situation, and though each day circumstances have been rising sharply and topped 100,000 on December 15 they’re nonetheless wanting the degrees feared. 

Main statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter has additionally identified that round half of latest Covid admissions in Omicron hotspot London solely examined constructive after arriving at hospital, probably for a distinct ailment – though he burdened they might nonetheless add to strain on the well being service.

Official figures out at the moment reveal that Covid was talked about on 764 demise certificates registered in England and Wales within the week to December 10 – 4 per cent down from the earlier week and the bottom stage since October. 

Mr Sunak lastly unveiled the assist for companies after bars and eating places had been left abandoned following more and more grim warnings from Chris Whitty and different specialists. The spending will make one other dent within the public funds, after new figures revealed at the moment that borrowing has risen above forecasts with the economic system stalling. 

A survey by Ipsos MORI revealed a majority of Britons are actually taking issues into their very own palms to scale back their possibilities of catching coronavirus, with 58 per cent saying they’ve prevented public transport or plan to take action, and 57 per cent saying the identical about going to pubs and eating places, and social gatherings with family and friends. 

Native authorities will administer the £683million of hospitality and leisure grants, with 200,000 companies set to profit – though the factors don’t appear clear. One other £102million will go into discretionary funds, once more managed by city halls, and the emergency fund for cultural organisations will get a £30million enhance. 

The devolved administrations will obtain round £150million of funding by means of the Barnett components as a part of the assist introduced, with round £80million for the Scottish Authorities, £50million for the Welsh Authorities and £25million for the Northern Eire Govt.

Mr Sunak gave a robust trace that the federal government will go additional if extra restrictions are wanted, saying they can not ‘rule something out’.

‘Folks will have the ability to take a look at our observe file over the past yr or two and supporting folks and companies, particularly within the hospitality trade all through this disaster,’ he informed journalists.

‘I’ll all the time reply proportionately and appropriately to the state of affairs that we face. Folks can have faith in that.

‘The place we are actually we have responded, I feel, generously at the moment, the grants that we have outlined as much as £6,000 are akin to the grants that we offered for hospitality companies after they had been fully closed earlier this yr. So, there is a benchmark for you.

‘Additionally, it is essential to recollect we’ve got assist already in place that lasts all the way in which to subsequent spring.

‘So, for instance, a lowered fee of VAT for the hospitality and tourism sectors, and this yr they’re benefiting from a 75 per cent low cost on their enterprise charges invoice. These forms of issues final all the way in which to subsequent March to assist the trade.’   

On one other intense day of coronavirus drama:

  • Nicola Sturgeon will make a press release to Holyrood after confirming no additional restrictions in Scotland earlier than Christmas Day – however a crackdown is feasible earlier than New Yr; 
  • Hundreds extra folks might be launched from isolation in time for Christmas as ministers put together to chop the interval from 10 days to seven days; 
  • Sir Jeremy Farrar, a former member of SAGE, has backed the place of ready for one more day to see up to date proof on Omicron;  
  • Mr Johnson’s private ranking have slumped once more, with YouGov discovering a internet minus 48 assume he’s performing effectively – down from minus 35 final month. Simply 22 per cent approve of the federal government with 60 per cent disapproving; 
  • The NHS has given 1,000,000 Covid jabs in a single day for the primary time, however nonetheless seems to be off the tempo to hit the New Yr goal on boosters;
  • London’s New Yr’s Eve celebration occasion in Trafalgar Sq. has been axed with Sadiq Khan urging folks to look at TV as a substitute.
Boris Johnson (pictured in Downing Street today) has stepped back from imposing punitive lockdown curbs that would have ruined Christmas

Boris Johnson (pictured in Downing Road at the moment) has stepped again from imposing punitive lockdown curbs that might have ruined Christmas

The rush hour at King's Cross in London was quieter than normal this morning amid Covid concerns and with Christmas just a few days away

The push hour at King’s Cross in London was quieter than regular this morning amid Covid issues and with Christmas only a few days away 

Empty tables and chairs at a restaurant in London's West End last night as the hospitality sector faces another crisis

Empty tables and chairs at a restaurant in London’s West Finish final evening because the hospitality sector faces one other disaster

A near-deserted Tube train this morning - with London Mayor Sadiq Khan having already cancelled the New Year celebrations in Trafalgar Square

A near-deserted Tube practice this morning – with London Mayor Sadiq Khan having already cancelled the New Yr celebrations in Trafalgar Sq.  

The latest YouGov research has found just 22 per cent approve of the government, with 60 per cent disapproving

The most recent YouGov analysis has discovered simply 22 per cent approve of the federal government, with 60 per cent disapproving

A queue for a vaccination centre at Hampden Park in Glasgow today, with Nicola Sturgeon due to announce whether more restrictions will be brought in for Scotland after Christmas

A queue for a vaccination centre at Hampden Park in Glasgow at the moment, with Nicola Sturgeon on account of announce whether or not extra restrictions might be introduced in for Scotland after Christmas  

Might the New Yr see a ban on socialising indoors and the Rule of Six exterior? 

Hypothesis is mounting that the federal government might impose a a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in England after Christmas. 

Ministers and officers have apparently pencilled in December 28 as a attainable date to set off the brand new curbs. 

The preparations come after SAGE recommended which might successfully re-impose ‘Step 2’ of Boris Johnson’s previous lockdown exit roadmap for 2 weeks.   

It’s unclear which components of ‘Step 2’ might be included however a crackdown on indoor social contact is seen because the more than likely transfer. 

Beneath is a breakdown of the measures included within the previous ‘Step 2’ which was in pressure in April this yr.  

Ban on indoor socialising: Folks weren’t allowed to socialize indoors, besides with members of the identical family. The rule of six utilized outdoor.

Curbs on hospitality: Bars, pubs and eating places had been closed indoors however might serve folks outdoor the place the rule of six utilized.  

Outlets: All retail remained open, together with hairdressers, magnificence and nail salons. 

Home journey: Folks had been suggested to minimise journey as a lot as attainable. 

Training: Early years settings, faculties and faculties had been open for all college students.     

Kate Nicholls, chief government of the UKHospitality trade physique, mentioned: ‘This can be a beneficiant bundle constructing on current hospitality assist measures to offer a right away emergency money injection for these companies who, by means of no fault of their very own, have seen their most useful buying and selling interval annihilated.

‘It should assist to safe jobs and enterprise viability within the brief time period, significantly amongst small companies within the sector, and we significantly welcome the enhance to funds for the provision chain and occasion and enterprise catering firms so badly affected by the reintroduction of work at home tips.

‘There’s now an actual urgency in getting this funding to companies so we urge native authorities to prioritise distribution of funds to ensure jobs and companies are preserved by means of this troublesome interval.’

The president of British Chambers of Commerce, Conservative peer Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, referred to as for readability on who might be eligible.

She informed BBC Radio 4’s World at One: ‘We requested very a lot for grant assist, so we’re delighted that grant assist has been given, however we do not know but the definition of eligible companies and corporations.’

She added: ‘I feel it’s a good begin. Our concern is round the truth that we want enterprise confidence and we’ve got received uncertainty.

‘We have to know that we will keep open and proceed to commerce and shoppers will return.’

However shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves complained that the federal government had been ‘dragged kicking and screaming’ to providing assist.

‘The PM continues to be too distracted by revolt from Tory backbenchers to behave within the public curiosity. Companies and employees are crying out for readability on what restrictions are down the highway as many proceed to be hit exhausting,’ she mentioned. 

Senior Tories hailed the choice to keep away from fast restrictions this morning, whereas some scientists accused Mr Johnson of ‘caving in’ to sceptics within the Cupboard after ‘dropping authority’ following a sequence of scandals.

Commons Chief Jacob Rees-Mogg is known to have urged the federal government through the assembly to ‘belief folks’ to answer the alarm in regards to the fast unfold of the brand new pressure, slightly than bringing again draconian legal guidelines.

Mr Johnson is claimed to have cautioned that clarification won’t wash if the NHS is at severe threat of being underwhelmed, however finally went with the bulk view amongst his group. Critics mentioned he had ‘caved in’, though No10 denied that he was overruled, stressing he didn’t make any agency proposal. 

Mr Johnson was boosted by Sir Jeremy Farrar, a former member of SAGE, backing the place of ready for one more day to see up to date figures on hospitalisations. He informed the Immediately programme that ‘every of us can do issues at the moment that may make the possibility of additional restrictions lighter’.

After authorities borrowing for November got here in larger than predicted this morning, Cupboard Workplace minister Steve Barclay highlighted the ‘financial penalties’ of extra restrictions.  

Mr Barclay informed BBC Breakfast: ‘The Prime Minister has given a dedication that the place there are extra laws purchased ahead that Parliament could be recalled so that Members of Parliament can scrutinise and debate these points, however we’re not at that stage.

‘We’re wanting intently on the information and we have to recognise there are financial penalties to additional restrictions.’

UK information greater than 100,000 each day circumstances for first time  

The UK recorded greater than 100,000 Covid circumstances in a single day for the primary time ever final week, new information exhibits after the emergence of the extremely transmissible Omicron variant.

A complete of 102,297 folks examined constructive for the virus final Wednesday, in response to backdated Authorities figures — marking the primary time they’ve risen above triple digits formally for the reason that begin of the pandemic.

The determine appears at constructive circumstances by ‘specimen date’, the day somebody took the check, and is totally different from each day reported circumstances introduced by Authorities every single day, which appears at when somebody acquired their end result. 

It may possibly take as much as 5 days for the variety of constructive assessments on any single day to be totally counted so extra days the place Covid circumstances have breached 100,000 could emerge within the coming days.    

However case numbers are nonetheless effectively beneath the projections of gloomy Authorities modelling which mentioned there have been as much as 400,000 infections a day final week and that this might rise to 1million by the height this winter.

Doubts about No10 scientific projections are believed to be the rationale Boris Johnson has pumped the brakes on a Christmas lockdown, with ministers ready for extra concrete information on the variant. 

Final Friday, the Division of Well being reported 93,045 new Covid circumstances. Instances have barely moved in 4 days and a file 1.5million Britons are being examined for the virus every single day at the moment, which suggests the difficulty shouldn’t be an absence of assessments.  

With plans for the two-week ‘circuit breaker’ nonetheless mentioned to be on the desk, Mr Johnson final evening warned he needed to ‘reserve the likelihood’ of additional restrictions to manage the unfold of Omicron. 

Nevertheless he admitted the info was not clear sufficient to justify motion now.

The PM has promised to seek the advice of parliament on any new authorized curbs and it’s extremely unlikely that MPs might be recalled in time to behave earlier than the Christmas break.

A row erupted yesterday over modelling that had appeared to lift the specter of Christmas being ‘cancelled’ for a second yr.

In forecasts leaked over the weekend, the SAGE committee cited modelling that with out fast motion each day deaths might hit 6,000 within the worst case – and hospital admissions 10,000.

However with enormous uncertainty over the severity of Omicron, ministers, MPs and specialists rejected the ‘implausible’ predictions.

Tory former chief Iain Duncan Smith referred to SAGE modeller Graham Medley as ‘Graham Meddler’ throughout an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Immediately programme, though it was not clear if it was a slip of the tongue. 

Mr Duncan Smith mentioned the federal government ought to solely decide based mostly on a ‘wider vary of knowledge on the impact of lockdown’.  

‘We have to perceive the impact of lockdown is dramatic throughout so many areas of individuals’s lives, which equates to the identical as folks going into hospital,’ he mentioned.

Sir Jeremy, head of the Wellcome Belief, mentioned folks might take private duty.

‘Omicron is spreading unbelievably quick. It’s a phenomenal variant transmission,’ he mentioned.

‘There’s nice uncertainty about what’s it going to result in by way of strain on the well being system, folks going to hospital, significantly folks dying, but in addition what influence is it going to have on the broader society, workers absences, the flexibility to have functioning different providers, so there may be nice uncertainty.

‘My private view is that I feel we will wait in the meanwhile till there are extra restrictions formally positioned.’ 

Mr Barclay mentioned there had been a ‘strong dialogue’ at Cupboard about how to answer the Omicron menace.

 ‘We’re wanting intently on the information, there may be a lot we nonetheless do not know in regards to the severity of Omicron, the way it results in hospital admissions,’ he mentioned.

‘We’re wanting significantly on the London information, there’s a larger prevalence of Omicron significantly in London.’

Requested if he had been amongst members of the Cupboard calling for extra information, Mr Barclay mentioned: ‘I feel it’s proper that the Cupboard has a full and strong dialogue.

‘That’s what folks would anticipate. It’s proper that we take a look at the stability between defending lives and livelihoods.’

Covid behind only one in 16 deaths in England and Wales, newest figures present

Covid was behind only one in 16 deaths in England and Wales within the two weeks after Omicron first hit Britain as Covid fatalities hit a two-month low, official figures revealed at the moment.

Information from the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics exhibits simply 764 of the almost 12,000 fatalities recorded within the two nations had been linked with the virus within the seven days as much as December 10.

The weekly Covid fatalities is the bottom determine recorded in two months, since 713 had been registered within the week to October 15.

These deaths — which embody any fatality the place the virus was talked about on the certificates — had been recorded within the two weeks after the primary Omicron infections had been recognized within the UK.

Covid deaths are the most important lagging indicator of tendencies in an infection charges, as a result of it takes three to 4 weeks for an contaminated particular person to die from the virus.

How lethal the surge in Omicron circumstances seems to be stays to be seen, with uncertainties about how extreme it’s or how effectively vaccines defend towards severe outcomes.

These key unknowns mixed with rising circumstances have put festive plans into doubt, regardless of the Prime Minister up to now holding off imposing further Covid curbs earlier than Christmas.


Nevertheless, Mr Barclay informed LBC he had downsized the variety of relations at his personal Christmas celebrations this yr, with solely his in-laws attending.

He disclosed that Mr Sunak will give extra particulars of assist for companies later. 

‘The Chancellor was speaking to trade leaders about this very challenge final evening. We’ll say extra about this later at the moment,’ he mentioned.

‘We recognise clearly we’re eager to maintain companies open and companies ought to proceed to plan for the bookings they’ve.

‘We completely recognise that by means of Plan B and the behaviour change there was an influence on these bookings.’ 

A number of ministers – together with Mr Sunak and Overseas Secretary Liz Truss – made clear they had been unwilling to again additional restrictions till there was higher data on the influence of Omicron.

Mr Sunak is known to have resisted measures that would value the economic system billions ‘off the again of knowledge that’s patchy’. Probably the most vocal supporters of a robust response are believed to have been Communities Secretary Michael Gove and Well being Secretary Sajid Javid.

Afterwards Mr Johnson insisted the Authorities was monitoring the info ‘hour by hour’ and that the arguments for taking motion had been ‘very, very finely balanced’.

However he burdened there are nonetheless ‘uncertainties’ across the severity of the brand new pressure, in addition to the speed of hospital admissions related to it and its influence on vaccines.

He added: ‘Sadly I need to say to folks that we should reserve the potential for taking additional motion to guard the general public, to guard public well being, to guard our NHS. We’re every kind of issues to maintain Omicron underneath management and we are going to rule nothing out.’

Ministers had been briefed on the digital Cupboard assembly by chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.

Ms Truss apparently demanded ministers got ‘actually thorough information’ earlier than approving curbs, and insisted there have to be ‘incontrovertible proof that we want extra restrictions’.

Different ministers voicing related issues included Mr Rees-Mogg, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack.

A very quiet road in London's West End last night as people stay at home with just days to go until Christmas

A really quiet highway in London’s West Finish final evening as folks keep at dwelling with simply days to go till Christmas

Authorities borrowing got here in above expectations at £17.4billion – solely £4.9billion beneath final yr and the second highest on file

A Cupboard supply mentioned: ‘There’s extra information approaching Wednesday, so that ought to make hopefully the image a bit clearer and selections simpler to make.’  

Tory former chief whip Mark Harper mentioned that ‘not telling the general public what is going on on is unacceptable’ as he mentioned ‘we will achieve this significantly better than this’. 

Covid isolation might be lower to seven days 

Ministers are set to announce a serious shake-up of Covid guidelines by slashing the variety of self-isolation days to seven, in a bid to cease workers shortages grinding the nation to a halt this Christmas.

Authorities specialists are reportedly set to agree new recommendation which can see the self-isolation interval lower by three days – carry it down from 10 days to seven.

Nevertheless these self-isolating might want to have detrimental lateral move assessments on day six and 7 as a way to be eligible for early launch.

It comes after epidemiologist Professor Neil Ferguson earlier this week backed the change, saying it could ‘not scale back the effectiveness of the measures that a lot’ if coupled with testing.

Well being Secretary Sajid Javid has additionally reportedly been pushing exhausting for the discount. An announcement is predicted ‘imminently’.

SAGE social behaviour professional Stephen Reicher lashed out at Mr Johnson at the moment, saying he had ‘caved in’ to lockdown-sceptic ministers and Tory MPs.

‘The arguments are very very finely balanced says ‘do nothing’ Johnson. On the one hand you might have a scientific consensus that present measures are insufficient and that motion is required now. You could have the NHS crying out in alarm. You could have companies crying out for assist,’ Prof Reicher mentioned. 

‘Then again you might have the best of the Tory Celebration which threatens revolt. And the Prime Minister, who has misplaced political authority over his personal celebration, simply as he has misplaced ethical authority over the nation, caves in to the latter That is not balanced It is fully unhinged.’ 

Mr Johnson was underneath strain from his SAGE specialists to roll out further curbs after they delivered dire warnings about what is going to occur if the PM fails to behave urgently. 

However different specialists at the moment slammed as ‘fictitious’ projections of 6,000 each day Covid deaths and 10,000 hospitalisations this winter in a worst-case situation. 

Coronavirus circumstances have additionally been across the 90,000 mark for 4 days now, after specialists predicted they might double each two days. 

It has additionally emerged that ministers are contemplating slashing isolation for these with Covid from 10 days to seven days on account of fears Omicron will cripple the economic system.   

Based on Authorities modelling, as much as 2million folks might be catching the ultra-transmissible variant per day through the peak this winter.

There are rising fears it might push the nation right into a de facto lockdown with so many isolating with gentle sickness, even when hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.

Sources say the change in coverage is ‘being checked out’ and Well being Secretary Sajid Javid is regarded as desirous to shorten the isolation timeframe as hospitals and companies battle on account of absent employees.

The dearth of a remaining determination by Mr Johnson on further curbs means it now appears unlikely that additional restrictions might be rolled out earlier than Christmas however there are mounting fears of a crackdown instantly after December 25. 

The PM has promised that MPs will get a vote on any extra guidelines however Parliament is now in recess and recalling the Home of Commons, holding a debate after which voting would take an estimated 48 hours. 

Saying curbs any later than at the moment would subsequently run the chance of individuals being informed to observe new guidelines after they’ve already travelled to see household for Christmas. 

The Occasions reported that Mr Johnson and the Cupboard delayed a choice as a result of they weren’t but satisfied the newest Omicron information justified saying new restrictions. 

Can we afford one other lockdown? Borrowing rises as economic system stalls 

The grim state of the general public funds was laid naked at the moment because the Covid surge and Omicron variant hammers the economic system.

Authorities borrowing got here in above expectations at £17.4billion – solely £4.9billion beneath final yr and the second highest on file.

In the meantime, the nation’s debt pile had reached £2.32trillion by the top of the month – equal to 96.1 per cent of GDP, the worst ratio since 1963.

The grim image comes amid mounting fears that the resurgence of the virus has derailed the restoration. 

Nevertheless, the newspaper mentioned the Authorities might decide to impose a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown in England after Christmas, probably beginning on December 28. 

It was reported on Saturday that Whitehall officers had drawn up laws which might successfully re-impose ‘Step 2’ of the PM’s lockdown exit roadmap for 2 weeks.  

That might imply a ban on indoor socialising and a return of the rule of six for outside gatherings. Bars, pubs and eating places could be banned from serving folks indoors. 

The delay in Mr Johnson’s determination on further curbs prompted a break up inside the Cupboard, with Sajid Javid warning ministers that no determination was a choice in itself. The Well being Secretary requested specialists to ‘kick the tyres’ of presidency modelling however they had been unable to reassure him that the variant is much less extreme, studies the Occasions.

However Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted that the general public must be trusted to make their very own selections as to how finest to guard themselves and the household, slightly than imposing extra restrictions. He additionally criticised SAGE modelling whereas saying that there was not sufficient proof to suggests new Covid measures had been essential. 

The Prime Minister convened the assembly of his high group as he confronted a rising Cupboard revolt over potential additional Covid guidelines. 

The PM had been offered with three choices to sort out the variant amid surging case numbers, with the bottom stage of intervention consisting of recommendation to restrict family mixing indoors, in response to The Telegraph.

The second stage would see necessary restrictions on family mixing, the return of social distancing and an 8pm curfew for pubs and eating places whereas the third and hardest stage would see a return to one thing near a full lockdown. 

Mr Johnson is now contemplating his subsequent transfer, understanding that any determination to tighten Covid guidelines will spark a livid Tory backlash. 

Downing Road at lunchtime refused to be drawn on the proposals that are reportedly into consideration, with the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman telling reporters: ‘At this level we’re nonetheless monitoring the info and protecting a really shut eye on it… we might replace if any selections are taken.’

Boris Johnson has been presented with three options to slow the spread of the Omicron variant with the PM reportedly clearing his diary today for crunch meetings with scientists and advisers

Boris Johnson has been offered with three choices to sluggish the unfold of the Omicron variant with the PM reportedly clearing his diary at the moment for crunch conferences with scientists and advisers

Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary, today refused to rule out more curbs being introduced before Christmas

Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary, at the moment refused to rule out extra curbs being launched earlier than Christmas

Consultants slam SAGE’s ‘fictitious’ doomsday situation

Modelling by SAGE was at the moment slammed as ‘fictitious’ after projecting 6,000 each day Covid deaths and 10,000 hospitalisations this winter in a worst-case situation. 

In recommendation to ministers printed this weekend, the Authorities’s scientific advisers mentioned there might be astronomical casualty numbers with out extra ‘stringent measures’. 

SAGE’s modelling group on the London College of Hygiene and Tropical Drugs discovered there might be 10,400 hospitalisations in England per day on the peak of the outbreak in February in a worst-case situation.

They assumed that Omicron will proceed to develop exponentially even underneath Plan B curbs, two jabs provide simply 50 per cent safety towards extreme illness from the mutant pressure and boosters simply 80 per cent. 

The 6,000 deaths a day determine was calculated by Warwick College scientists and made equally pessimistic assumptions about vaccine effectiveness, in addition to that present curbs scale back transmission by simply 20 per cent . 

If each of those predictions had been to return true, it could imply that 60 per cent of people that get admitted for Covid within the coming months will die.

By comparability, on the peak final January there have been on common 4,000 admissions a day and 1,300 deaths giving a hospital-fatality fee of 32.5 per cent. Warwick mentioned it factored in ‘excessive strain’ placed on the NHS by Omicron. 

The worst-case eventualities had been offered regardless of 48.8 per cent of over-12s being boosted, 81 per cent being double-jabbed, and studies from South Africa that the mutant pressure is milder.  

Crucially, the modellers didn’t take a look at any situation through which Omicron causes milder illness than Delta or if folks begin to change their behaviour within the coming weeks in response to the variant.  

SAGE’s chief modeller Professor Graham Medley from LSHTM revealed this weekend that the committee doesn’t think about optimistic eventualities as a result of ‘that does not get selections made’. 

An ex-Authorities scientist who wished to stay nameless at the moment informed MailOnline that the numbers are ‘fictitious’, including: ‘Fashions should simplify the world to foretell the longer term, however clearly that is an absurd futureThey mentioned the doomsday eventualities had been akin to ‘science fiction’, including: ‘However we do not are inclined to query it as a result of we worship numbers’.

Professor Carl Heneghan, director of evidence-based medication at Oxford College and a GP, mentioned this morning that ‘we’re in deep, deep hassle of probably speaking ourselves into annual lockdowns’ as he argued the query must be ‘when are we going to deal with folks like adults?’. 

However Stephen Reicher, professor of psychology on the College of St Andrews and a member of presidency advisory physique the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (Spi-B), mentioned ‘we have to scale back our contacts’.

Requested about Christmas, he mentioned: ‘The most secure factor is to not meet up earlier than Christmas. If you need an excellent Christmas dinner, I’d say be very cautious about assembly up earlier than Christmas.’ 

Not less than 10 Cupboard ministers are mentioned to be resisting additional curbs as a result of they’ve issues in regards to the accuracy of professional modelling on the unfold of Omicron. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is likely one of the ministers to have expressed issues in regards to the projected numbers, in response to The Occasions, after SAGE warned there might be 3,000 sufferers a day in want of hospital remedy with out pressing motion. 

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Authorities’s Chief Scientific Adviser, informed the Cupboard on a name on Saturday that curbs must be rolled out as quickly as attainable however one third of senior ministers are mentioned to be towards the transfer.  

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab this morning refused to rule out extra restrictions earlier than Christmas Day as he mentioned he couldn’t make ‘exhausting, quick ensures’. He mentioned the Authorities is aiming to take ‘knowledgeable selections and naturally we wish to take them earlier slightly than later’. 

Tory MPs final evening mentioned any try to toughen guidelines earlier than Christmas will provoke letters searching for to oust Mr Johnson as celebration chief.  

The warnings got here simply 24 hours after Lord Frost, to this point a detailed ally of Mr Johnson, dramatically stop as Brexit Minister slating ‘coercive’ Covid curbs and excessive taxes.  

Lord Frost walked out with a parting shot on the ‘course of journey’ and saying he had hoped the top of lockdown could be ‘irreversible’. His departure was described as a ‘watershed second’ in what had been an especially damaging week for Mr Johnson.

Immediately’s coronavirus statistics confirmed there had been an extra 91,743 lab-confirmed Covid-19 circumstances within the UK as of 9am this morning. The Authorities mentioned an extra 44 folks had died. 

The UK Well being Safety Company (UKHSA) mentioned there had been 8,044 extra confirmed circumstances of the Omicron variant, bringing the overall confirmed circumstances of the variant within the UK to 45,145.   

Households are determined to spend Christmas collectively after final yr’s Covid lockdown guidelines meant tens of millions had been pressured to be aside or severely reduce their celebrations.

It’s understood Mr Johnson is resisting requires restrictions forward of December 25, however there are mounting fears they are going to be imposed after that, spoiling New Yr plans for tens of millions. 

Sajid Javid yesterday repeatedly declined to rule out imposing robust restrictions earlier than Christmas as he warned there are ‘no ensures’ Christmas Day will go forward with out a lockdown. 

The Well being Secretary acknowledged that information in regards to the Omicron variant remained incomplete – however recommended it is perhaps essential to make selections earlier than a full image is obtainable.  

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, told the Cabinet during a call on Saturday that hospital admissions in England could reach 3,000 a day unless further curbs are introduced

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Authorities’s Chief Scientific Adviser, informed the Cupboard throughout a name on Saturday that hospital admissions in England might attain 3,000 a day except additional curbs are launched

In different coronavirus developments:  

Mark Harper, chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs, urged ministers to 'hold firm' against more restrictions and not make any 'knee-jerk restrictions'

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said there was 'no evidence' for restrictions to be brought in ahead of Christmas

Mark Harper (left), chairman of the Covid Restoration Group of lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs, urged ministers to ‘maintain agency’ towards extra restrictions and never make any ‘knee-jerk restrictions’. In the meantime former Tory chief Sir Iain Duncan Smith (proper) mentioned there was ‘no proof’ for restrictions to be introduced in forward of Christmas