The government could pull the “handbrake” and implement tight restrictions as soon as Boxing Day as the Omicron variant is ripping through the country, The Sun reports.
It has been reported that the contingency plan for Boxing Day will have to be put before Minister, before this can be imposed in England.
Government scientific advisors have warned that due to a lag in reporting hospital admissions with Omicron in the UK are “probably around one tenth of the true number.”
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) gave a “situation update” on Thursday which was published on Saturday, said it is “almost certain that there are now hundreds of thousands of new Omicron infections per day” in England.
A source told The Sun, “A set of proposals is being worked on that would let people celebrate Christmas, but then the handbrake would be pulled.”
However, the former Cabinet Minister David Jones said on Saturday night, “Ministers will need compelling evidence and firm data before any decisions are made.
“We need to take account of people’s wellbeing and the economy.”
The British Medical Association warned that as much as 50,000 staff could be off sick with Covid and forced to self-isolate by Christmas Day.
BMA Council Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned, “We’re already seeing services being affected by staff absences, and these estimates show it could get far, far worse.“
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said,“We’re in a race between the virus and vaccine and doing everything in our power to get jabs in arms.”
A government spokesman last night said that it will “continue to look closely at all data and keep our measures under review.”
The Liberal Democrats are calling for Parliament to be recalled on Monday to discuss the next steps, with party leader Sir Ed Davey saying, “We cannot allow the Prime Minister to sit on his hands while the NHS and businesses are on the brink of collapse.”
Javid wrote in the Daily Telegraph, “Standing in Parliament this week and arguing for Plan B brought me no joy – promoting individual freedom and opportunity is one of the reasons I got into politics.
“But we have to be clear-eyed about the challenge Omicron presents. Our strategy since it emerged has been and remains to buy time for our scientists to assess the threat and build up our defences.”
Many scientists are strongly recommending that the government imposes a lockdown now because “after Christmas it’s probably too late” by then we will have had a huge surge of infections.
Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the SAGE subcommittee advising on behavioural science, has recommended a circuit breaker lockdown before Christmas.
Speaking to Times Radio in a personal capacity, he said, “The only way really, or at least the most effective way, we can have an immediate effect is to decrease the number of contacts we have.
“In many ways, the most effective way of diminishing contact is to have a circuit-breaker.
“Now, you could have it after Christmas, the problem is after Christmas it’s probably too late, it’s probably by then we will have had a huge surge of infections with all the impact upon society.”
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