BORIS Johnson is NOT expected to impose further restrictions when Plan B is reviewed next week, The Sun has been told.
Whitehall sources say the PM is set to “maintain the status quo” of indoor mask-wearing, working from home advice and vaccine passports on Wednesday.Boris Johnson is not expected to announce any more Covid restrictions next week[/caption]
But in a New Year boost he’s likely to hold off announcing dreaded measures like the Rule of Six or return to outdoor pints.
Ministers are buoyed by encouraging evidence showing Omicron is up to 70 per cent milder than Delta and appears vulnerable to booster jabs.
Fresh figures today also showed that 33 per cent of hospital Covid cases were admitted for other reasons, suggesting they are not seriously ill with the virus.
The PM today said the turbo-charged jabs rollout had put Britain on an “incomparably better” footing to fight Covid than last year.
Yet key Omicron data is pouring in all the time and insiders stressed they are watching the latest stats like hawks ahead of the crunch decision.
In major developments:
- A record 189,846 Covid cases were reported in England today
- It takes the Omicron total to almost 250,000
- Scots began crossing into England where nightclubs are still open
- London’s fireworks display IS going ahead after being axed
He said: “Whatever the challenges that fate continues to throw in our way and whatever the anxieties we may have about the weeks and months ahead, particularly about omicron and the growing numbers in hospitals/
“We can say one thing with certainty – our position this December the 31st is incomparably better than last year.”
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More than 58 per cent of the population aged 12 and above have so far had their third dose.
Downing St also said that all eligible adults have now had the chance to get a booster.
Mr Johnson suggested unvaxxed Brits make it their New Year’s resolution to get jabbed.
In a stark warning he said: “I want to speak directly to all those who have yet to get fully vaccinated. The people who think the disease can’t hurt them – look at the people going into hospital now, that could be you.
“Look at the intensive care units and the miserable, needless suffering of those who did not get their booster, that could be you.
“So, make it your New Year’s resolution – far easier than losing weight or keeping a diary – find a walk-in centre or make an online appointment.”
The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits’ arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
The PM is keeping an especially close eye on hospitalisations amid warnings the NHS is coming under strain.
Across the UK, there were 1,915 Covid-19 hospital admissions on December 27, up 62 per cent week on week and the highest number since February 8.
However the figure includes patients who have tested positive for Covid in hospital without necessarily being treated for it.
It means someone being treated for a broken leg – but who also has coronavirus – would be in the stats even if they’re not severely ill.
IN THE BALANCE
NHS chiefs believe the threshold for imposing new restrictions has not yet been crossed.
But Chris Hopson, head of NHS providers, this morning warned curbs should be clamped on “at real speed” if hospitals come under severe strain.
He told the BBC: “We know that the government has set a high threshold on introducing extra new restrictions.
“So on that basis, trust leaders can see why the government’s arguing that in the absence of a surge of seriously ill patients coming into hospital, that threshold hasn’t yet been crossed.
“But we still don’t know if the surge will come and indeed we’re exactly talking about the preparations that we’re making or that surge right now.
“So in terms of restrictions, I think we’re in exactly the same place we’ve been in for the last fortnight, which is the government needs to be ready to introduce tighter restrictions at real speed should they be needed.”