The UK government has decided not to impose further COVID-19 lockdown restrictions before the new year in England, even as parties and nights in the developed countries of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland try to stop the spread of the Omicron variant Club restrictions continue.
After a meeting with experts to assess the latest coronavirus data on Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that no additional restrictions would be imposed on existing Plan B measures, which call for mandatory face coverings, work from home and checking COVID vaccine certificates for large spaces.
“We will continue to monitor the data carefully, but No new restrictions will be imposed in England Before the new year,” Johnson tweeted.
“However, I would urge everyone to continue to act with caution in view of the increasing number of Omicron cases. Most importantly, I urge everyone to get their first, second or booster jab without delay for the safety of themselves and their loved ones.
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid later reiterated the message to reporters, adding that more measures may be needed next month.
He added: “Of course, people should be cautious as we approach New Year’s celebrations, and you know, do a lateral flow test if it makes sense. Celebrate outside, if you can. Keep some ventilation indoors if you can, please be careful.
“And as we enter the new year, of course, we’ll see if we need to take any further measures, but nothing more, at least until then.”
The announcement has been widely welcomed by the hospitality industry in England, in hopes of making the most of the business generated by New Year’s Eve parties. UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nichols said the decision not to go beyond Plan B measures in England was a “practical and proportionate” decision by the government.
“This will provide a real lifeline for many people who are grappling with the loss of business for Christmas and on top of that the loss of the New Year will be devastating for many,” she said.
It came as Britain recorded 98,515 coronavirus cases on Monday, down slightly from a high of more than 100,000 in the previous day. Scientists have expressed cautious hope that infections are slowing and fewer people need to be hospitalized because of Omicron, which is now believed to account for 90 percent of all COVID cases in England .
Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told the BBC that over time people with COVID should be allowed to “go about their normal lives” as they would with a common cold.
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