Two to four week ‘circuit breaker’ could be announced by Boris Johnson between Christmas and the New Year
A two to four-week’ circuit breaker’ including a ban on household mixing could be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson between Christmas and the New Year, UK Government sources have told the Times.
While the UK Government only has the power to impose a ban on household mixing in England, Wales which currently advises against but does not ban household mixing could follow suit if the data on hospital admissions would justify such a move over the border.
Any new restrictions in England would also likely come with more financial support from the UK Treasury for businesses, which would free the Welsh Government to potentially bring in further restrictions in Wales.
Government sources told the Times newspaper that the Prime Minister wants a few more days to assess data on London hospital admissions, the severity of the Omicron strain and how well vaccines protect against serious illness. Boris Johnson will meet scientists after Boxing Day to assess the data.
“The key date is New Year’s Eve — that could be a super-spreader event,” they said. “Therefore the plan is to reconsider that data after Christmas.”
“If Johnson does decide measures are necessary parliament is likely to be recalled on December 29 or 30, with the measures imposed for December 31.”
The measures would include those already taken by the Welsh Government – such as closing nightclubs and insisting sport games are only played behind closed doors. However, they could also go further than First Minister Mark Drakeford and ban or impose restrictions on household mixing.
Mark Drakeford announced on Tuesday that a rule of six customers at a table, face masks and table service would be reintroduced in Wales from Boxing Day. That followed restrictions on sporting events on Monday which moved many rugby and football matches over the New Year behind closed doors.
The Welsh Government did not make new rules about small groups mixing in people’s private homes, including gardens, in holiday accommodation or meeting outdoors.
Instead, they strongly advised everyone follows these five measures:
- Limit the number of people visiting your home.
- If people are visiting, make sure they take a lateral flow test in the morning before the visit.
- Meeting outdoors is better than indoors. If you’re meeting indoors make sure it’s well ventilated.
- Space out any visits, and don’t forget about social distancing and washing your hands.
There is however a separate offence for very large gatherings – more than 30 people indoors or 50 people outdoors – in private homes and gardens.
In Scotland, all outdoor events will be limited to just 500 people from Boxing Day. Indoor events such as concerts will be limited to 200 people if they are seated, or 100 for standing. As in Wales, table service and 1m social distancing will return to the hospitality sector from 27 December.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.