As Omicron tightens its grip on the UK, Covid cases rose 6 percentage points today. They surpassed 50,000 for the 4th time in one week.

Government figures show there were 51,342 new positive tests over the last 24 hours, up 6.1 per cent on last Wednesday’s 48,374 and comes as the country stares down the barrel of tighter pandemic restrictions.  

SAGE warned ministers Omicron hospital admissions in England could exceed 1,000 per day by the end the year without tighter controls to stop the spread of super-mutant Covid variant.

The expert panel stated that Omicron could infect the vast majority of British infection within weeks and place ‘unsustainable’ pressure on the NHS. This move would be a bounce for No10.

Leaked minutes from SAGE’s emergency meeting today showed that the group also expect the highly-evolved strain to trigger several thousand admissions per day at a peak in January if it is allowed to spread unchecked. 

The ‘Covid O’ Cabinet committee has met for crunch talks this afternoon and Boris Johnson is expected to sign off on plans for a blanket order to work from home where possible, more mask-wearing, vaccine passports and stricter isolation rules for close contacts of infected people either today or tomorrow.  

After the rise in British Omicron cases to 568, there is increasing pressure for the government to loosen restrictions. The highly developed variant of Omicron can now be found in almost all countries in England and in most of the UK.  

Experts warn thousands of cases are flying under the radar because not all samples are analysed for variants and Omicron is estimated to be doubling every two or three days — much faster than when Delta exploded on the scene.

There are currently 757 daily hospital admissions across the UK and 680 in England. Members of SAGE suggested previously that 1200 admissions per day would trigger more restriction with Delta.

Although Omicron has not been confirmed in the UK, it can take several weeks for a person to become seriously ill. There are also early signs that the Omicron virus might be milder than previous variants.

Even though this strain might be less severe than the Delta one, experts warn it is still capable of infecting significantly more people. This could lead to higher hospital admissions. 

The BBC obtained leaked SAGE Minutes. They stated that the group had said in the minutes: “With the rapid growth observed, decision makers will have to immediately consider response measures to reduce transmission if they want to decrease the unsustainable pressure on NHS.”

According to scientists, tightening restrictions would give the UK plenty of time delay the wave and bring more boosters into the arms. According to them, jabs should withstand serious disease and death.

Earlier, Professor Neil Ferguson, a key SAGE member whose modelling prompted the initial lockdown last spring, today admitted that another full-blown shutdown could be on the cards to tackle Omicron.

WFH would not stop the virus, but slow it down. This could extend its doubling time by five to six days. He said that although it doesn’t sound like much, “it could allow us to characterise the virus better and increase population immunity.”   

There is growing pressure on the Government to tighten restrictions after the total number of British Omicron cases rose to 568 today, with the highly evolved variant now in every country in the UK and almost every region of England

After the rise in British Omicron cases to 568, there is increasing pressure for the government to loosen restrictions. The highly developed variant of Omicron can now be found in almost all countries in England and the UK.

Boris Johnson (pictured leaving 10 Downing Street to attend Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons today) is on the verge of bowing to mounting alarm about the risk of the NHS being overwhelmed by bringing in tougher restrictions, likely to include a blanket order to work from home where possible, more mask-wearing and Covid passports

Boris Johnson, pictured departing 10 Downing Street today to answer Prime Minister’s Questions at the Commons, is about to bow to growing alarm over the NHS becoming overwhelmed. He will likely introduce tougher restrictions that include more mask-wearing, Covid passports, and a blanket order for people to work remotely.

There are currently 757 daily hospital admissions across the UK and 680 in England (England shown above). SAGE members had previously suggested that 1,200 daily admissions would be the trigger point for more restrictions with Delta

There are 757 hospital admissions per day in the UK, and 680 in England. (England is shown above). SAGE members previously suggested that 1,200 hospital admissions per week would set the stage for further restrictions on Delta.

In total, there are 46,000 Covid cases on average each day in the UK and data from the Covid Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) suggests the new strain is already behind around one in 66 of them, or 1.4 per cent

On average, 46,000 Covid patients are diagnosed each day in the UK. Covid Genomics UK Consortium data (COG UK) shows that around 1 in 666 cases, or 1.4%, is affected by the new strain.

Infections of the highly evolved variant are doubling every two or three days. The above graph shows how the number of daily cases of Omicron could breach the 100,000 barrier before New Year's Day, if that pace continues

Two to three times as many Omicron infections are occurring every day with the evolved version. If the current pace of Omicron infection continues, the graph above shows that Omicron cases could surpass 100,000 daily by New Year’s Day.

BBC Breakfast today decided to 'empty chair' Sajid Javid for pulling out of national interviews in the wake of the Downing Street party video

BBC Breakfast today dismissed Sajid Javid, who pulled out of interviews at national level following Downing Street’s party video.

What would Plan B look like?

The No10 team will announce new ways to stop Omicron spreading today. 

There are several curbs you could put in place. 

— Compulsory face masks extended to pubs and restaurants 

— Vaccine passports for large events

— Advice to work from home where possible

— Isolation of all contacts of Covid cases

These are measures already in place. 

— Compulsory masks in shops and on public transport

— Pre-flight departure tests for all UK arrivAs

— PCR test on or before Day 2 for vaccinated arrivals

— 10-day isolation for unvaccinated arrivals

— Day 2 and Day 8 PCR tests for unvaccinated arrivals 

— Return of Red List and hotel quarantine for arrivals from countries on list  

— Booster vaccine campaign expanded to all adults, dosing gap shortened to three months 

Suella Braverman the Attorney General was seen in the building today, though it is unclear if this is related. 

He also entered the interview, but he didn’t answer questions on why he avoided interviews.

Conservative MPs are blaming the prime minister for not giving an explanation and warning that misleading parliament about what occurred would be grounds for resigning. Former Cabinet minister and critic Baroness Warsi said that ‘every minister’, ‘every parliamentarian’, and staffer at the alleged party must resign immediately. 

MailOnline was told by a government source that this situation was an “absolute joke”. ‘A friend said to me ”you look like a bunch of c***s”. The argument was not easy to refute. 

BBC Breakfast took the extraordinary step of empty-chairing Mr Javid this morning as vaccines minister Maggie Throup also pulled out of her planned round of regional television interviews. Susanna Reid, ITV’s Good Morning Britain host, claimed that the government is ‘gaslighting’ viewers by pretending they don’t need to answer any questions.  

The footage of Ms Stratton was filmed on December 22 last year – four days after the alleged ‘boozy’ party and when London was under strict Tier 3 coronavirus curbs. After a week of denials by No. 10, the revelation was made after staff members allegedly exchanged gifts from Santa Claus and partied past midnight.

The Government is preparing new plans to allow Britons to work remotely and to close offices. However, Tory MPs acknowledged that the video was ‘indefensible and catastrophic. This could lead to public resistance to more restrictions due to a lack of moral authority in No 10.

Some backbenchers have even suggested that Boris Johnson’s could be forced to resign unless he ‘holds his hands up’ because of the video, which calls into question his insistence that all the rules had been followed at the time.

Johnson was criticized for his leadership style. He must go. Complete sweep. It’s unsustainable’. Another stated that it confirmed his suspicions about the arrogance of lockdown organizers.

Tracey Crouch MP for Chatham-Aylesford was an ex-minister and demanded an explanation. ‘I am fuming! Kent Online stated that my constituents had every right to be mad.

Professor Neil Ferguson cautions that a total lockdown could be required to stop Omicron overtaking the NHS 

Neil Ferguson of ‘Professor lockdown’ admitted today that Omicron could face another nationwide shut down as he warns the super-variant will dominate before Christmas.

A Government scientist whose modeling put No10 in lockdown last spring said that it was possible to return stay-at-home orders, should the mutant strain overthrow the NHS. 

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘There is a rationale, just epidemiologically, to try and slow this down, to buy us more time principally to get boosters into people’s arms because we do think people who are boosted will have the best level of protection possible, but also to buy us more time to really better characterise the threat.’

When asked directly if a lockdown might be reinstated, he replied: “Clearly, if it is highly probable that the NHS will become overwhelmed then the Government must decide how to deal with that situation but that’s not an easy position to find yourself in. At the moment, it might be possible. 

The British public’s reaction to Christmas restrictions is still unclear after new accusations surfaced that Boris Johnson had held a rulebreaking lockdown party at Downing Street in December. This was when millions of Britons could not visit their families.

“Their fondest memories of loved ones have been traumatized by the fact that they passed away alone. Many also spent what is often a very special day all by themselves.

“I’m not going to defend or justify a Downing Street party. All of us deserve an eloquent explanation, swiftly apologizing and a full and complete explanation. Conservative Sir Roger Gale stated today that this situation had “all the hallmarks” of another “Barnard Castle” moment – in reference to Prime Minister’s ex-aide who drove 260 miles under strict lockdown conditions.

He stated, “This is something like out of The Thick Of It.” People wouldn’t believe what you would write if it was true.  Boris Johnson was always his own man, and did his thing his way. Boris Johnson needs to be explained. This is not something to laugh at. I need PM to call the dispatch line and tell me if there was or not a party. Please give me an explanation before lunchtime.

Even Ant and Dec got in on the act last night, mocking Boris Johnson over the Downing Street Christmas party on I’m a Celebrity 2021 and saying: ‘Evening Prime Minister… for now.’ Although police are not yet conducting a criminal investigation, they will review the video before making a final decision.  In the next few days, it is expected that the content of the video will be reviewed by a senior officer who is investigating the case.

Met spokesperson stated that the Met had obtained footage from ITV News concerning alleged Health Protection Regulations violations at a Government Building in December 2020. “It’s not our policy to investigate retroactive breaches of Covid-19 regulations. However, the footage will be part of our considerations.”  

BBC Radio 4’s Today program stated that Mr Javid had been scheduled to appear on this morning. However, the footage was discovered and it was cancelled.

Nick Robinson, the presenter said that he was expecting to talk to Sajid Javid, Health Secretary this morning. However, a video of the incident revealed that no minister had been available for the program today. Also, Mr. Javid would be appearing on media outlets like BBC1, Sky News or Times Radio.

Leaked footage from ITV News shows Miss Stratton laughing with her aides about cheese and wine, suggesting that this fictive event wasn’t’socially detached’. Miss Stratton, who is still on the No 10 payroll earning £125,000 a year, was practising for planned TV media briefings, which were later axed.

At the time of the alleged event, on December 18, Christmas parties were outlawed – on pain of £10,000 fines – and many families were even barred from visiting dying loved ones. The capital bans indoor mixing with members of other households.

No.10 was insisting that last night there had been no Christmas party and that coronavirus regulations were observed at all times. Ministers, however, were shocked by the shocking video. One privately described it as “appalling”.

According to insiders, the public could be angered by the exposure of toxic footage. This is similar to Dominic Cummings’ fury at Barnard Castle during the initial lockdown. 

Insiders at Downing Street admitted that the video was an ‘error’ and said: ‘No 10, aides laugh about their party, as thousands of people cry for their deceased.

As Liz Truss, Foreign Secretary was quizzed about an alleged Chatham House event party she claimed that “we do follow all the rules on Covid”.

She stated that she didn’t have any details about the alleged events at Number 10.

“I am certain that there will be more discussion about that topic. I know the Prime Minister’s spokesperson answered these questions yesterday.

When asked why people should trust an administration who doesn’t follow rules she replied: “We follow the rules regarding Covid.

However, he said that he was unaware of specific circumstances but that a spokesperson for the Prime Minister had addressed the issue.

MailOnline was told by a Tory MP that many of their colleagues were “waiting to hear what the PM has to say at PMQs”.

“He must come out now and simply be straight and honest about what has happened. Answering no questions will not work. Perhaps they want to fire someone.

Backbencher said that any future investigations would uncover more details. You can explain to Parliament if you’ve done wrong. There is a greater chance that you will be able to get away with it.

“The only thing that can get you is the one who covers it up.” You must be completely honest.

“They won’t all have illegal parties at the same time. But you don’t have illegal parties in No10.

He also suggested Mr Cummings or his associates might be involved in the leakage of the video. It must have been someone of senior standing. It is hard to imagine who kept them alive for this length of time. “It does seem like a Cummings operation,” they stated.

Becky Kummer from Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice stated: “There are no words that can describe how distressing and shameful hearing Boris Johnson’s teams laughing about breaking rules, while other people could only follow them and say farewell to their loved ones via a screen. This is the behavior of people who believe they are above others.    

The clip, obtained by ITV news, shows Ms Stratton, then the PM’s press secretary, and Ed Oldfield, No10’s head of digital, rehearsing a question and answer session in the No9 briefing room.

Oldfield poses a question in it about ‘a Downing Street christmas party on Friday night.’ Ms Stratton responds with a chuckle and says: ‘I was at home. 

Ms. Stratton seems unsure what to say when he questions if the Prime Minster would approve of such a party and she asks: ‘What’s your answer?