No further Covid restrictions before New Year

Health / Tue 28th Dec 2021 at 08:09am

THERE will be no further Covid restrictions in England before the new year, Sajid Javid has said reports the BBC.

But the health secretary said people should “remain cautious” and celebrate outside on New Year’s Eve if possible.

“When we get into the new year, of course we will see then whether we do need to take any further measures, but nothing more until then at least,” he said.

Meanwhile, England reported a record number of cases on Christmas Day.

The figures showed there were 113,628 new infections reported in England on 25 December, 103,558 on 26 December and 98,515 on 27 December. 

Only partial Covid data has been published over the Christmas period.

Dr Sarah Pitt, a virologist at the University of Brighton, told the BBC the cases data was “likely to be an underestimate” for several reasons, including people being less inclined to come forward for a test on Christmas Day and data processing delays over the festive season.

Scotland also reported a record number cases over the Christmas weekend, according to provisional data. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the expected steep rise in cases “is now materialising”.

Northern Ireland has not published any cases data since Christmas Eve, while Wales recorded another 5,335 cases on 26 December.

he decision not to introduce new measures in England comes hours after the prime minister was briefed by England’s chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

It puts England out of step with the rest of the UK: Wales has already introduced more curbs, while Scotland and Northern Ireland have both tightened rules for a second day, with hospitality venues returning to table service only and social distancing returning in several settings.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said many people would be relieved to see no new restrictions, but urged the government to release the data that informed the decision, “so that the public can be reassured that… Boris Johnson is not simply capitulating to his own opponents in the Tory Party.”

Early findings last week suggested people infected with the fast-spreading Omicron variant were less likely to be admitted to hospital – although a range of factors is likely to be examined when looking at the case for restrictions.

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