One last party for England? Boris warns of ‘challenges in coming weeks’ in NYE message as he mulls new restrictions NEXT WEEK and experts warn fresh curbs could be needed ‘at speed’ after cases hit record of 189,213 and hospitalisations double
Boris Johnson will decide next week whether to impose new coronavirus restrictions to limit indoor socialising as the Prime Minister said in his New Year’s Eve message that there are likely to be ‘challenges’ in the weeks ahead.
Mr Johnson is expected to make a decision in the first week of the New Year on whether to restrict mixing indoors in England, secondo The Times.
The Prime Minister opted not to impose new curbs between Natale and New Year’s Eve but rising Covid case numbers are fuelling fears that new measures could be on the horizon.
Un ulteriore 189,213 coronavirus cases were recorded across the UK yesterday – a new record high – while the number of hospital patients with Covid in England rose to 11,452, a rise of 61 per cent in just one week.
Mr Johnson said in his New Year’s Eve message that the nation’s position in the battle against the disease is now ‘incomparably better than last year’ thanks to the vaccine rollout.
It came as NHS bosses warned that the Government ‘needs to be ready to introduce tighter restrictions at real speed should they be needed’.
Chris Hopson, the head of NHS Providers, said new curbs ‘may be needed at pace if the evidence warrants it’ as he said health bosses ‘still don’t know’ if there will be a surge in elderly hospitalisations which could trigger Mr Johnson to act.
Nel frattempo, a Government scientific adviser today warned it is likely the NHS will be overwhelmed by the spread of the Omicron variant.
Professor Peter Openshaw, who sits on the Government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Giornata nervosa), disse: ‘I think we haven’t quite reached the threshold that was set by Government in terms of the NHS being overwhelmed, but it looks like that will be reached quite quickly.’
Scottish Government issues last ditch plea to Scots heading to England to celebrate NYE to ‘stay away’ from large-scale parties
The Scottish Government today issued a last ditch plea to Scots to avoid large-scale New Year’s Eve parties as English pubs brace for thousands of revellers to cross the border to celebrate this evening.
Nicola Storione has banned large Hogmanay celebrations and advised people to limit socialising as much as possible.
But many Scots are expected to head to England to escape the coronavirus curbs and to see in the New Year.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney today called on all Scots to stick to the Scottish Government’s guidance.
He said people are being urged to restrict socialising because Omicron is ‘spreading very, very widely within our society’ and it ‘poses a serious threat to us’.
Groups of excited Scots were pictured yesterday arriving in Newcastle, Blackpool and London to celebrate New Year’s Eve and go to football matches with more expected to follow suit today.
Ms Sturgeon announced the ban on large-scale Hogmanay events last week and she decided to stick with it earlier this week.
The First Minister said it is ‘prudent’ and ‘essential’ to take action to reduce transmission of the disease in order to ‘avoid the sheer volume of cases overwhelming us’.
She has urged people to reduce their contacts with other households and to ‘limit the size of any indoor social gatherings that do take place so that they don’t include people from any more than three households’.
There are similar restrictions on socialising in place in Wales and experts have predicted as many as 100,000 Scottish and Welsh revellers could journey across the border to celebrate this evening.
There are no such curbs in England, with people simply being encouraged to take a Covid test before they head to a party.
Mr Swinney was asked this morning why the Scottish Government was not prepared to ‘trust’ people to get tested before celebrating.
Ha detto al programma Today di BBC Radio 4: ‘We do trust people and we have encouraged them to do exactly that.
‘But we have also asked people to limit their social contact because we can see from all of the data that you have just recounted that Omicron is spreading very, very widely within our society.
‘It poses a serious threat to us, we can see hospitalisation levels are increasing… so at a time when I recognise all of the sentiments that were set out in the clip that you have just played, I recognise all of those traditions, I have been part of them, I value them, I appreciate them, Li amo, it is part of who we are.
‘But unfortunately this time around we have to apply some constraints on the level of social interaction we have to protect others.’
The latest coronavirus developments came as:
- Dr Azeem Majeed, head of primary care and public health at Imperial College London, said NHS workers are struggling to access Covid-19 tests, and the Government should prioritise key workers when distributing them.
- National Pharmacy Association chairman Andrew Lane said more lateral flow tests are being distributed to pharmacies but supply is ‘still very patchy’.
- Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the council at the British Medical Association, said there was growing concern over the ‘significant increase’ of people in hospital with coronavirus.
- Prof Openshaw said that Omicron ‘has ended up being so infectious that it almost needs just a whiff of infected breath and you could get infected’.
- Un totale di 4,580 NHS staff at hospital trusts in London were absent for Covid-19 reasons on December 26, su 18 per cent on the previous week (3,874) and nearly four times the number at the start of the month (1,174), according to new figures from NHS England.
- The Scottish Government issued a last ditch plea to Scots to stick to guidance not to attend large-scale New Year’s Eve parties.
England is currently subject to ‘Plan B’ restrizioni, with people told to wear face masks in many indoor settings and to work from home if possible.
But Mr Johnson did not follow Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in imposing new rules after Christmas, with all three devolved governments putting in place curbs on socialising.
Thousands of revellers from Scotland and Wales are expected to cross the border today to enjoy ‘normal’ New Year’s Eve celebrations at pubs and clubs in England.
The PM is expected to make a decision next week on whether to impose curbs on indoor mixing in England.
Mr Johnson said in his New Year’s Eve message: 'Felice anno nuovo, 2022 is almost upon us.
‘And whatever the challenges that fate continues to throw in our way and whatever the anxieties we may have about the weeks and months ahead, particularly about Omicron and the growing numbers in hospitals, we can say one thing with certainty – our position this December the 31st is incomparably better than last year.’
The PM said there was ‘one overriding reason why the UK has been able to maintain the most open economy and society of any major European economy’ as he praised the vaccine rollout.
‘That is because the British people have responded heroically, volontariamente, and in almost incredible numbers to the call to get vaccinated,’ Egli ha detto.
‘And as I speak tonight on New Year’s Eve, we’ve met our target, we’ve doubled the speed of the booster roll out.
‘And it’s precisely because of that huge national effort that we can celebrate tonight at all. Though I must of course urge everyone to be cautious and to take a test if you are going out and to remember the importance of ventilation. Follow the rules if you are in Scotland or Wales or Northern Ireland.’
Mr Johnson also delivered a direct plea to people in the UK who are not yet fully vaccinated to come forward and get the jab.
‘The people who think the disease can’t hurt them – look at the people going into hospital now, that could be you,’ Egli ha detto.
‘Look at the intensive care units and the miserable, needless suffering of those who did not get their booster, that could be you.
'Così, make it your New Year’s resolution – far easier than losing weight or keeping a diary – find a walk-in centre or make an online appointment. Get that jab and do something that will make 2022 a happy New Year for us all.’
The PM’s comments came as NHS bosses said the Government’s threshold for imposing new coronavirus restrictions has not yet been met but warned ministers must be ready to act if the situation deteriorates.
Mr Hopson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: 'Guarda, it is the Government that sets the rules on restrictions, not the NHS and we know that the Government has set a high threshold on introducing extra new restrictions.
Daily Covid admission in London have risen again, con 456 newly-infected patients placed on wards on December 28. This is the second day in a row admissions been above the crucial 400-a-day threshold that Government advisers warned could trigger nationwide intervention
Boris Johnson claims to have HIT his New Year booster jab target of offering a top up to every adult in the UK
Boris Johnson has hailed the success of the UK’s booster programme while claiming to have met his target of offering top-up doses to every adult in England.
The Prime Minister also urged everyone to make getting jabbed a New Year resolution to help keep the nation free from confinamento.
He spoke out as the number of people in hospital in England with Covid rose to 11,452 yesterday – up 61 per cent from a week earlier and the highest number since February 26.
C'erano 2,082 Covid hospital admissions in England on Tuesday, su 90 per cent week-on-week and the highest daily total since February 3, NHS England figures show.
But around one in three patients in hospital with Covid are primarily there for a reason unrelated to the virus, with this proportion expected to increase.
And the NHS Confederation said while it was ‘encouraging’ to see people coming forward for their jabs, it had heard reports that some vaccination clinics were only a third full as cases of the Omicron variant continued to rise rapidly.
Chief executive Matthew Taylor said some primary care leaders had told the organisation that people were not turning up to as many as 40 per cent of their booked appointments.
The Government set a target at the end of November to offer a booster jab to everyone eligible aged 18 and over by the end of January 2021.
But this goal was subsequently brought forward by a month in response to the emerging threat of the new Omicron variant sweeping across the country.
‘So on that basis trust leaders can see why the Government is arguing that in the absence of a surge of seriously ill older patients coming into hospital, that threshold hasn’t yet been crossed.
‘But we still don’t know if the surge will come and indeed we are exactly talking about the preparations that we are making for that surge right now.’
Mr Hopson said restrictions will need to be brought in ‘at pace if we need them’.
‘In terms of restrictions I think we are in exactly the same place we have been in for the last fortnight which is the Government needs to be ready to introduce tighter restrictions at real speed should they be needed,’ Egli ha detto.
‘And just to make the point that is somewhat different to a headline that states that NHS leaders thinks there is no need for more curbs. They may be needed at pace if the evidence warrants it.’
‘And just one more important point I think, which is it is worth remembering that it does take about a fortnight for any new restrictions to effect the levels of hospital admissions so the pattern of hospital admissions for the next fortnight has already been set.
‘So in terms of restrictions we should bring them in at pace if we need them but trust leaders understand why the Government having set a very high threshold that actually that threshold hasn’t yet been crossed.’
Nel frattempo, Prof Openshaw told BBC Breakfast that he believes it is likely that the NHS will be overwhelmed by Omicron.
Egli ha detto: ‘I think we haven’t quite reached the threshold that was set by Government in terms of the NHS being overwhelmed, but it looks like that will be reached quite quickly.
‘What I’m very concerned about is our NHS staff, my dear colleagues who have worked so, so hard all through the repeated waves of this infection. How are they going to cope?
‘We need to really extend our care to them and give every support and do everything we can to make the NHS a great place to work, which of course it is in the main, but I’m really very concerned indeed for NHS staff.’
Concerns over the spread of Omicron came as the Government scrambles to resolve a testing supply crisis.
Sajid Javid, il segretario alla salute, has told MPs that lateral flow tests are set to be in short supply for another two weeks as officials grapple with ‘huge demand’.
In a letter sent out to all MPs in England yesterday, Mr Javid warned supplies would have to be prioritised for vulnerable groups, such as care home residents.
He also revealed the UK had trebled its order of lateral flows over January and February, a partire dal 100 to 300million.
It came as many Britons were left unable to get kits for the third day running — despite ministers urging people to take the swabs before heading out to New Year’s celebrations.
Covid cases are highest among 18 to 35-year-olds (orange line), loro hanno detto, but are rising in all age groups. There is also an uptick among 55 to 75-year-olds (red line) and over-75s (purple line) who are more at risk from the virus
Across England’s regions the number of infections is still highest in London. But as Omicron spreads across the country cases are now rising in all other regions
Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics today showed weekly deaths in England and Wales are still above the five-year average. Covid fatalities are yet to surge but this is a lagging indicator because of the time taken for someone who catches the virus to become seriously ill
The Government website was offering lateral flow tests at 1pm yesterday, but by 1.15pm it was once again telling people none were available.
Pharmacies have even started putting up signs telling customers they have no lateral flow tests — even for those who have pre-booked an order and have a code.
Wales has now stepped in to help Downing Street, loaning more than four million lateral tests to England.
Despite the shortages, pictures yesterday showed contractors dishing out boxes of the in-demand kits. In Slough, packs of seven and 20 swabs were given out outside a Nando’s.
Ministers have blamed a ‘global supply issue’ for the crisis. There are also problems accessing PCRs in some areas.
Fears are mounting that the swab crisis could stifle the UK’s economy, with millions needlessly forced to self-isolate because they are unable to get tests to prove they no longer have the virus on day six and seven of quarantine.