- Boris has warned about the risk of the NHS being overwhelmed by bringing in tougher restrictions
- SAGE said it is ‘highly likely’ that admissions cross the four-digit mark by the new year and top 2,000
- Plan B will include vaccine passports, advice on work from home and widespread use of masks inside buildings
- Leaked footage shows Downing Street aides mocking the festive gathering at a fake press conference
- PM said there is a need to have a ‘national conversation’ about those who do not want to be vaccinated
What are the new covid rules in England?
Boris Johnson announced this evening that the government is implementing its COVID Plan B.
Return to work from home guidance. People will be told to work from home in England from Monday if they are able.
Face masks will be made mandatory in most public indoor places, including cinemas and cinemas, from this Friday. They will not be needed in pubs, restaurants and gyms.
The NHS COVID Pass will be mandatory for access to nightclubs and other large places where large crowds gather.
This will apply to all indoor spaces without seats with more than 500 people, outdoor spaces without seats with more than 4,000 people, and any places with more than 10,000 people.
Two doses of the vaccine will be considered as a complete vaccine but will be reviewed due to the booster program.
A negative lateral flow test would also suffice.
This requirement will be met in a week’s time to give businesses time to prepare.
Contacts of Omicron cases will be asked to take daily coronavirus tests instead of self-isolating. They will have to quarantine if they come positive.
The leader of the Scottish Conservative Party told Boris Johnson last night that he should resign if he is found to have misled parliament over an alleged party at the height of COVID restrictions last Christmas.
Douglas Ross said it was ‘unbelievable’ that there was ‘some kind of party’ in Downing Street late last year, when London was covered by Tier 3 lockdown measures.
“If he knew there was a party, if he knew it had happened, he couldn’t come to the House of Commons and say there was no party,” he told Sky News.
He warned the PM that if he knew an incident had happened, saying in the Commons that he could ‘not continue’ in the ‘highest job in the country’.
Mr Johnson had tried to draw a line under the issue, announcing that Cabinet Secretary Simon Case would investigate the alleged gathering.
The first person to be convicted in the party scandal was former PM press secretary Allegra Stratton, who resigned in tears yesterday after video surfaced of his joke about the alleged incident during a fake Downing Street press conference last year.
Mr Johnson told lawmakers yesterday that Ms Stratton had resigned from her position as government aide to apologize “unreservedly for the crime it caused” and for “the impression it gives”.
But later, he sparked further fury by announcing the introduction of Plan B measures to combat the spread of the new Omicron variant.
The Prime Minister announced that work from home guidance would return, vaccine passports would become mandatory in large venues and face coverings would be expanded in cinemas and cinemas.
At the same time, Health Secretary Sajid Javid unveiled the plans in the Commons, telling lawmakers that the changes were necessary because Omicron cases were doubling ‘every two to three days’ – and by the end of the month they would exceed one million could.
He said the new rules would not be reviewed until January 5 – and the law implementing them would not expire until January 26.
But Mr Javid was irked, and even urged to resign, by a string of Tory MPs, angered both at the return of the financially damaging sanctions – and at the announcement coming a day when Downing Street faces fury over ‘illegal’ No. 10 Christmas party. last year at the height of the sanctions.
Economic experts also criticized the move ahead of the critical period before Christmas, warning they could cost the economy £4 billion a month and ‘easily’ cut 2 per cent off the size of the economy.
One Tory critic, Mark Harper, president of the Anti-Lockdown COVID Research Group, said: ‘Why should households do things that the people in No. 10 Downing Street are not prepared to do after listening to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State. to do?’
In a downbeat press conference, Mr Johnson warned that it was clear the new strain was “growing much faster” than the current dominant Delta strain – and asked people to take a test before heading to the Christmas party.
The prime minister said guidance on working from home where possible would return from Monday, and NHS Covid passes would be mandatory in nightclubs and other places where large crowds gather from ‘a week’s time’.
Wearing of masks will be made mandatory in cinema halls and cinema halls from tomorrow, but will not be required in pubs and restaurants. Guidance will also include relaxation for eating, drinking, exercising or singing.
The COVID health certificate will be applicable for indoor spaces with no more than 500 attendees and outdoors where there are more than 4,000 people. The prime minister said the pass could be achieved with a negative lateral flow test or two doses of a vaccine, but indicated that this could change, adding that ‘we will keep it under review as boosters’ roll out’.
The premier said it was necessary for the NHS to ‘buy time’ and move to Plan B to learn more about the new strain.
“It has become increasingly clear that Omicron is growing much faster than the previous delta version and spreading rapidly around the world,” he said.
While 568 cases were confirmed in the UK ‘the true number is sure to be much higher’ – potentially up to 10,000.
‘What is most worrying is that there is evidence that Omicron’s dabbling time can currently be between two and three days.’
As Mr Javid announced the change in the Commons, slogans ‘What a load of old trip’ and ‘Crap’ came from the Tory backbench.
Tory MP William Ragg shouted ‘resign’ when he confirmed the start of COVID certification.
At the press conference, Mr Johnson paid tribute to Mrs Stratton outside her home even after she resigned.
He said there was “no excuse” for the “frivolity” displayed by aides in the footage, but added that Ms Stratton was a “good colleague” and contributed to the COP26 summit.
Repeatedly stressing why people should listen to his urging when his own staff were accused of violating the rules, the PM said: ‘British people … Can see the vital importance of information. They can understand the need to take it to heart and act on it.
Mr Johnson also vehemently denied that the Plan B announcement was brought forward as a ‘dead cat’ tactic to divert attention from the party scandal. He said the effect of the edition had become ‘unacceptable’.
In another dramatic day:
- Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer told Mr Johnson that millions now think he took him ‘for a folly’;
- Downing Street faced several allegations that other parties were organized during the repeated lockdowns of the past two years;
- Mr. Johnson agreed to provide the Metropolitan Police with any information the government had about the Downing Street parties, but police said there was no evidence;
- The prime minister called for a ‘national dialogue’ on whether unvaccinated people should face stricter sanctions than those who have been withheld in the future;
- An opinion poll found that only nine percent of the public believed the prime minister’s claim that there was no party;
- Following Nicola Sturgeon’s work-from-home guidance to the north of the border and mandatory vaccine passports for events, the prime minister sparked anger in England by announcing a move to Plan B;
- Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who was mocked by some Tory lawmakers when they announced new restrictions, claimed that Omicron cases in the UK could exceed one million by the end of this month if no action is taken;
- Tory MP William Rag, chairman of the Commons Public Administration committee, said vaccine passports would ‘build a different society’ and some would be convinced by this ‘deviation strategy’;
At a Downing Street press conference, the PM announced that people should once again work from home, as well as use masks and present Covid passports for nightclubs.
Unveiling the plans in the Commons, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told lawmakers the changes were necessary because Omicron cases were doubling ‘every two to three days’ – and by the end of the month they could exceed one million.
Boris hints at new sanctions on Ajab
By Claire Ellicott, political correspondent for the Granthshala
New restrictions on non-vaccinated people were prompted by Boris Johnson yesterday as he called for a ‘national conversation’ about those who have not yet been vaccinated.
The Prime Minister said that he does not want to continue to impose sanctions on the nation simply because a large minority has refused to receive the COVID vaccine.
He ruled out compulsory vaccination but indicated that…