Plan B: Post-Christmas restrictions 'less likely' says Fisher
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Boris Johnson said earlier this week no new restrictions would be brought in ahead of Christmas despite the growing number of fresh coronavirus infections plaguing the country. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all introduced further rules to be implemented from December 26 but no hint about changes for England has been given so far. Political commentator Lucy Fisher said “several senior figures” have now been claiming a lockdown will not be introduced to avoid having to recall the Commons from recess.
Speaking to LBC, Ms Fisher said: “It’s worth stressing that those in Government have made clear that no final decision have been taken and nothing’s been ruled out cause the data could, of course, dramatically worsen.
“But interestingly, on my rounds speaking to lots of figures in Government, I was really struck by several senior figures saying that it is now looking less likely the Prime Minister will bring forward restrictions next week.
“Instead, the thinking is at this stage that he is more likely to bring forward strong advice to people to try to curb and limit their indoor mixing.
“I think in part it’s a reflection of the logistics the Prime Minister has vowed to consult MPs on any changes to the law.”
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The Daily Telegraph’s deputy political editor added: “And the logistics of bringing back Parliament, recall it during a recess, is tricky.”
Boris Johnson encouraged people across the UK to get their booster jabs in his Christmas message this year, describing it as a “wonderful” gift to their families.
In his Christmas message, the Prime Minister also said the pandemic is far from over as “Omicron is surging”, and paid tribute to the work of NHS staff.
Mr Johnson added: “Though the time for buying presents is theoretically running out, there is still a wonderful thing you can give your family and the whole country, and that is to get that jab, whether it is your first or second, or your booster.
Boris Johnson delivers Christmas message to the nation
“So that next year’s festivities are even better than this year’s.”
He also described a Covid vaccine as “an invisible and invaluable present”.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Thursday an estimated 1.4 million people in the UK had the virus in the week ending December 16, the highest number since comparable figures began in autumn 2020, said.
The data emerged within hours of Health Secretary Sajid Javid telling broadcasters the Government is not planning to make any more announcements on restrictions in England this week.
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The NHS’ national medical director Professor Stephen Powis that the service is on a “war footing” as the Omicron variant sweeps through the country.
Across England as a whole, 18,829 NHS staff at acute hospital trusts were absent due to reasons relating to coronavirus on December 19, up 54 percent from 12,240 a week earlier and up 51 percent from 12,508 at the start of the month, according to the data from NHS England.
In London, 3,874 NHS staff at acute trusts were absent for Covid reasons on December 19, more than double the number a week earlier (1,540) and more than three times the number at the start of the month (1,174).
The total included staff who were ill with Covid or who were having to self-isolate.
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