Boris Johnson says don’t cancel Christmas parties or nativity plays

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The prime minister promised one would be offered to everyone eligible for the booster by the end of January

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NS

Orris Johnson urged people not to cancel Christmas parties or birth plays at school.

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He promised to “throw everything” in a booster vaccination campaign to combat the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The prime minister promised all eligible people would be offered to help the NHS with at least 400 military personnel by the end of January, and vaccination centers would “pop up like a Christmas tree”.

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Mr Johnson rejected a call from a senior health official to limit socializing for Christmas, insisting he has already put in place a package of “balanced and proportionate measures” in response to the threat posed by the new version. was kept.

Asked whether parties and nativity plays should be abolished, Mr Johnson said: “We don’t want people to cancel these kinds of events and we think, the best thing for kids is to be in school.” It is, as I have said many times, this pandemic.

“What we are doing is trying to take a balanced and proportionate approach to the particular risk that appears to be posed by Omicron – certainly posed by Omicron – especially focusing on measures on the range “

But as Omicron cases in the UK reached 22, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said they were likely to go further and “we have to be realistic” that there is already potential for transmission of the new strain within the community.

Face coverings became mandatory in England on Tuesday morning in shops and public transport, along with stricter testing requirements for international travel and the return of self-isolation for contacts of confirmed Omicron cases, even if they are completely have been vaccinated. ,

But it is the booster campaign that the government believes provides the greatest defense against Omicron and Mr Johnson used a Downing Street press conference to deliver millions of jabs to promise another “great British vaccination effort”. .

“We’re going to throw everything at it to make sure all eligible people are offered boosters in just two months,” he said.

Mr Javid said the booster program would be put “on steroids” to meet the target, while NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said staff were working at “breakneck speed”.

The announcement of the rapid expansion of the booster campaign came after Downing Street clashed with a senior health official over his suggestion that people should limit social contacts for Christmas.

Dr Jenny Harris, head of the UK Health Protection Agency (UKHSA), said: “If we all reduce our social contacts a little bit, it really helps to keep the variant at bay.”

The comments caused alarm in the hospitality industry and helped fuel the Tory backbench rebellion, which saw the Conservatives revolting over the sanctions that came into force on Tuesday morning in England to deal with O’Micron.

Dr Harris told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, that even though our “vaccine appears to be effective, we find that the variant is more transmissible, with a lower grade of infection, but in a much larger number of populations, (it) There may still be a significant impact on our hospitals.

“And, of course, our behavior in the winter and especially around Christmas, the more we socialize, so I think all of that needs to be taken into account.”

Asked whether people should be asked to work from home in England, as is happening in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, he said: “We have seen that not everyone has gone back to work and I would like to think more about it. In general, if we all reduce our social interactions a little bit, it actually helps to keep diversity away.”

She suggests “be careful, don’t socialize when we don’t particularly need to” and get a booster jab.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the UK hospitality trade body, said these “quiet talks” could hit the sector past its busiest period.

She said bookings by some customers have already been “canceled and plans changed”.

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