Covid: Boris Johnson not expected to announce immediate restrictions after being briefed on Omicron Xmas Data
The Prime Minister last told the public that no measures would be introduced ahead of Christmas but warned that data would be reviewed “day-by-day”
There had been fears of a post-Christmas lockdown due to rapidly surging Omicron cases across the UK.
However, according to the PA news agency, it is unlikely that Mr Johnson will introduce restrictions immediately after being briefed on the data by chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser.
England not to follow other UK nations in announcing restrictions
The Prime Minister reviewed data which was delayed in being published due to the festive holidays.
Data from Christmas Day and Boxing Day was not published until early morning on 27 December, with the Prime Minister talking through the data with his scientific advisers.
Following the conclusion of the meeting, it was understood that Mr Johnson would not be making any further changes to restrictions already in place in England.
His likely decision comes after promising early data was released before Christmas Day, detailing that Omicron was up to 70% less likely to cause hospitalisations compared to previous strains.
New restrictions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland includes a limit on indoor mixing and new restrictions for hospitality businesses.
Nightclubs have also been closed across all three nations.
In a message to the English public ahead of Christmas Day, Mr Johnson confirmed that there would be no measure limiting socialising on the festive holiday, but did warn that Omicron data was being reviewed “day-by-day” and the government would not hesitate to introduce measure of the data called for it.
PM bows to ‘wait and see’ advice from MPs
Mr Johnson’s decision not to introduce new measure immediate comes after Tory MPs implored the Prime Minister not to make a snap decision on restricting the country further.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for the Cotswolds, told the Prime Minister to “wait and see” how Omicron effects hospitalisation statistics in the coming days.
Speaking to Times Radio, he said: “I think unless the data is very different to that which it was before Christmas, the Prime Minister would do well just to wait and see what happens in the next few days, because by next week we will have a very clear idea of whether these large number of infections are going to translate into hospital cases.
“But, at the moment, I would urge caution because of the damage to the economy and the damage to individuals by locking them down unnecessarily.”
He added that the other UK nations are “out of step” by announcing early restrictions, adding: “I think the principalities are out of step with England.
“I think they have been overly cautious, I think they are doing more damage to their economies than they need to, I think they are doing more damage to people’s liberties than they need to – I just don’t think the evidence, unless the data coming out today looks very different, is there for any further measures.”
Although no restrictions are expected to be introduced today, the situation will continue to be reviewed regularly, with Mr Johnson previously telling the public that the government will not hesitate to respond in an appropriate manner to data worsening.
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