Health

Omicron: No new restrictions in England before 2022


THERE will be no new Covid restrictions being introduced in England to tackle the Omicron variant, the UK Health Secretary and the PM have said.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland currently all have different Covid-19 restrictions in place compared to England, and it looks like that will remain the case at least until the end of the year.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said no further coronavirus restrictions will be introduced in England before 2022.

However, he did say that people should ‘remain cautious’.

The decision not to impose restrictions beyond the Plan B measures already in place in England comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was briefed on the impact Christmas mixing had had on coronavirus infections and hospital admissions.

Mr Javid told broadcasters on Monday: “We look at the data on a daily basis – that hasn’t changed over the Christmas period.

“But there will be no further measures before the new year. Of course, people should remain cautious as we approach New Year’s celebrations.

“Take a lateral flow test if that makes sense, celebrate outside if you can, have some ventilation if you can.

“Please remain cautious and 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.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon in public plea as daily Covid cases reach all-time high

Boris Johnson also reiterated the Health Secretary’s message. 

The Prime Minister wrote in a thread of tweets: “We will continue to monitor the data carefully, but there will be no new restrictions introduced in England before the New Year.”

“However, I would urge everyone to continue to act cautiously given the rising number of Omicron cases.

“Most importantly I urge everyone to get their first, second or booster jab without delay to protect yourselves and your loved ones.”

It comes at a time when the rest of the four nations in the United Kingdom have stepped up measures to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.

Here in Scotland, there are now limits to how many people can attend events depending on the vennue. A maximum of 100 people can attend indoor events where customers are standing, 200 people can attend when it is a seated event, and a maximum of 500 people can attend outdoor events which include football matches.

As of today, a requirement for 1m social distancing has returned, as well as obligatory table service in pubs and restaraunts where alcohol is served.

READ MORE: New Covid restrictions for Scotland’s pubs, gyms and shops from today

In Wales, groups of no more than six people will be allowed to meet in pubs, cinemas and restaurants in Wales.

Licensed premises will have to offer table service only, face masks will have to be worn and contact tracing details collected and two-metre social distancing rules are in place.

Sporting events will be played behind closed doors to help control the spread of the new Omicron variant.

Nightclubs have also been closed from Boxing Day under the new rules.

Regulations will also be changed to include a requirement to work from home wherever possible.

A maximum of 30 people can attend indoor events and a maximum of 50 people at outdoor events.

In Northern Ireland, dancing will also be prohibited in hospitality venues, but this will not apply to weddings. People must remain seated for table service, while table numbers will be limited to six.

However, there are no restrictions on football matches, and weddings are exempt from the new rules.





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