By Claire Gordon •
Published: 18 Dec 2021 • 10:17
Advisors to the UK government have apparently recommended that a post-Christmas lockdown is necessary to curb the fresh wave of cases that Omicron is causing in the country. Officials are drawing up plans to create a two-week circuit breaker lockdown, with restrictions not seen since the spring.
The restrictions being drawn up would ban meeting others indoors apart from for work purposes, and that pubs and restaurants would be limited to outdoor service only, according to The Times. The Financial Times reported that Boris Johnson has been presented with a number of options under a so-called Plan C, ranging from “mild guidance to nudge people, right through to lockdown”.
Sources close to the PM have said he prefers to go along the road of mild guidance, but he is aware he has to be realistic about the threat that Omicron brings. This comes as leaked minutes from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), seen by the BBC, reportedly said that scientists have told ministers that tougher measures need to be enforced “very soon”.
They have warned against leaving the start of these measures until 2022, saying that a two-week circuit breaker lockdown needs to be sooner rather than later to have the desired effect. It comes as a further 93,045 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases were recorded in the UK as of 9 am on Friday, the highest daily total recorded since the pandemic began and a rise of 4,669 on the previous record set on Thursday.
The number of people in hospital with COVID in London, which has seen some of the biggest rises in cases in the last seven days, has climbed to 1,534, up 28.6% from last week.
Meanwhile, half of adults in the UK have now had a COVID-19 booster dose after the programme was accelerated this week in the face of Omicron. New research has shown that booster shots can have more than 80% effectiveness in stopping severe Omicron symptoms.
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