No new Covid rules in England before new year, Health Secretary says – at odds with Wales and Scotland
There will be no new Covid restrictions in England before the New Year, the Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed.
The news means that England will go into 2022 out of step with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, who have introduced new restrictions over the past few days.
While health is devolved in Wales the lack of restrictions in England will have a knock-on effect on restrictions here, as it means the UK Treasury is unlikely to release new money that could be used to bail out businesses should the Welsh Government feel the need to impose sricter rules.
Sajid Javid said that people should remain cautious over the New Year.
“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.
The Prime Minister had been facing pressure from his own backbench Conservative MPs not to go forward with new restrictions before more data showing whether Omicron will overwhelm the NHS becomes available.
Boris Johnson received his first comprehensive data briefing since before Christmas today, with a focus on hospitalisations in London where the Omicron variant has been most prevalent.
The meeting included the chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser.
But today he only reiterated his message for the public in England to get a booster jab, saying: “There are over 1.5 million vaccination slots available to book in England in the coming days.
“We know two jabs don’t give you enough protection against Omicron so whether it’s your first, second or booster jab I urge you to book an appointment now.”
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already introduced some restrictions, including a ban of crowds at sporting events in Wales.
In Northern Ireland, as in Wales, nightclubs have been closed, table service is required in pubs and restaurants, and a maximum of six people can sit together at hospitality venues.
In Scotland, indoor events have been limited to 100 people standing or 200 people seated, and groups meeting inside must be limited to three households.
Yesterday Public Health Wales announced that there was now a total of 1,689 confirmed Omicron cases in the country.
Dr Chris Williams, Consultant Epidemiologist for Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales is today (Sunday 26 December) confirming 304 new cases of Omicron variant in Wales, bringing us to a total of 1,689 cases.
“As we have indicated previously, a rapid increase over the coming days and weeks is expected.”
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Nifty little shuffle by Javid and Patel, sneaking through the immigration thing on xmas eve?
The Tories are playing games with English lives to appease the far-right wing of the Conservative party , the ERG.
Their ill-judged actions will also have an affect on Wales & Scotland due to the unfettered cross border travel. I can forsee another English lockdown in January thanks to Boris Johnson’s Omicron spreadathon, or gathering if you prefer.
Politically Johnson can’t lock down. If he could, I think he would have done so already.
1300 hospital admissions a day isn’t sustainable for the English NHS. Not with their abandonment of social care it ain’t.
It’s said that any England lockdown will occur in the New Year. Johnson’s terrified of an ERG backlash if any new restrictions are put in place in England during one of the most profitable periods of the month. It’s make money now, worry later his & their mantra.
And where in Wales, Scotland & NI their governments have been taking a more measured & cautious approach, the ERG opinion matters when it comes to England. What they say goes. And if Boris thinks otherwise, so will he.
Wales and Scotland have higher death rates with a fraction of the population!
These claims have been binned, and yet you concrete blocks carry on regardless. Please go to Albion where you claim it is safer.
Pity the English being sacrificed on the altar of greed. But there you go they voted for an idiot, because as in the words of one interviewee, “he makes me laugh”.