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Uncertainty over new year’s eve plans as Government urges caution over Christmas

Boris Johnson has been urged to outline his post-Christmas Covid strategy, as a health minister warned there is “uncertainty” around people making new year’s eve plans.

The Prime Minister has reassured people that no further restrictions will be introduced before December 25 given there is not enough evidence on the severity of the Omicron variant and hospital admission to justify stricter measures.

But with the situation constantly being reviewed, Conservative frontbencher Gillian Keegan urged caution over the days ahead. 

Asked on LBC about going ahead with a gathering or party on December 31, the health minister said: “There is uncertainty. We can’t predict what the data is going to tell us before we’ve got the data.

“We are trying to take a balanced and proportionate approach so that people can see their families over Christmas to try and plan some stuff.

“But of course it is difficult to anticipate.”

She said the uncertainty in the data is “particularly” around severity.

But Labour pressed for decisions to be made as soon as possible.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Jon Ashworth told Sky News: “People are anticipating that some form of restrictions will come in post-Christmas, and I think we just need to give people certainty.

Coronavirus graphics
(PA Graphics)

“People need to know where they stand. Businesses have got to make decisions about what stock to get in in the run-up to new year’s eve, so I think it would be reasonable for the Government to produce a road map, if you like, a plan of what they think may well be anticipated in terms of further restrictions post-Christmas so people know where we stand.

“We’ve still got confusion at the moment.”

Elsewhere, it was reported that UK Government scientists are set to conclude that Omicron is causing a milder disease than the Delta strain in most Britons.

Politico’s London Playbook said the UK Health Security Agency is expected to publish early real-world data on the disease’s severity before Christmas, with its findings also suggesting Omicron is not necessarily mild enough to avoid large numbers of hospital admissions.

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