Ministers draw up proposals to reintroduce masks in all indoor spaces, scanning in to pubs and restaurants and vaccine passports for more venues in the New Year – while PM continues to fight off rebellion from dozens of Tory MPs over Plan B
A ‘Plan C’ which would see the imposition of even tighter restrictions is already being worked on by officials to tackle the threat of Omicron.
With many businesses reeling from the impact of Plan B measures announced this week, it emerged that further rules could be introduced in the New Year if the variant proves more dangerous than feared.
These include having to ‘check in’ with the NHS Covid app again to go to a pub or restaurant, using face masks in all indoor spaces, and having to show a vaccine passport at even more venues.
The first part of the Government’s Plan B came into force on Thursday with the introduction of compulsory face masks in indoor settings such as theatres, cinemas and churches.
New work-from-home guidance will come into force on Monday, and MPs will vote the next day on the introduction of vaccine passports for nightclubs and large venues.
Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that ministers hope the measures will be enough to ‘slow the spread’ of the Omicron variant while more booster jabs are rolled out.
But – as shops, pubs and restaurants warn of the millions they face losing at their busiest time of year under Plan B measures – officials are already working on a potential ‘Plan C’ package.
Top of the list is the reintroduction of rules requiring hospitality venues to collect the contact details of all customers to help NHS Test and Trace track down those who come into contact with Covid cases.
This would mean the return of compulsory ‘check-ins’, through the NHS app or by providing phone and email contacts in writing.
The looming threat of even tighter restrictions come amid fury at Mr Johnson’s decision to impose Plan B measures yesterday, on the same day that he tried to grapple with the fallout of the Downing Street Christmas party scandal.
He is set to face a ‘war’ with his backbenchers when the measures are voted on next week. They reacted furiously to the planned introduction of vaccine passports next week – and took aim at the ‘conflicting’ guidance on working from home and socialising.
Ringleaders have told MailOnline that it will be the biggest mutiny yet, 적어도 60 expected to defy the government whip.
Backbencher Marcus Fysh said on Thursday that the latest curbs are an ‘utter disgrace’, while former chief whip Mark Harper has questioned whether the government has the moral authority to impose the limits given the row over rules being flouted in Downing Street.
There was a further setback when the NHS Covid pass website crashed for several hours last night.
In signs of Cabinet tensions, Sajid Javid this morning dismissed a hint from the PM that mandatory vaccination might be looked at in future, saying that would be ‘ethically wrong’.
And the Health Secretary revealed that he refused to continue with a scheduled round of broadcast interviews yesterday because he was ‘upset’ by the bombshell video of No10 aides giggling about an alleged lockdown-busting festive gathering last year.
The scale of the damage to the Tories from the partying revelations, which followed the sleaze row, has been underlined with a poll showing 63 per cent of voters think the PM should resign.
Labour also had a four-point lead in the Redfield & Wilton poll, the largest since the 2019 총선거.
On another tumultuous day in Westminster:
- The PM faced questions over whether he misled an investigation into donations for refurbishments to his Downing Street flat after the Electoral Commission fined the Tories £17,800.
- A probe into alleged lockdown-busting parties in No 10 was widened to include another festive celebration and a reported staff leaving do.
- Mr Johnson’s wife Carrie gave birth to a ‘healthy baby girl’ at a London hospital yesterday morning.
- 영국 기록 50,867 new cases of Covid-19 and a further 148 deaths yesterday.
- Officials are already working on new ‘Plan C’ 제한, which could include requiring pub and restaurant goers to ‘check in’ with the NHS Covid app again.
- It emerged that more than £30million of taxpayers’ money has been spent to help civil servants to work from home during the pandemic.
- The number of A&E patients waiting more than 12 hours on a trolley for a hospital bed hit a record high.
A ‘Plan C’ which would see the imposition of even tighter restrictions is already being worked on by officials to tackle the threat of Omicron. 위: Prime Minister Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday
With many businesses reeling from the impact of Plan B measures announced this week, it emerged that further rules could be introduced in the New Year if the variant proves more dangerous than feared. These include having to ‘check in’ with the NHS Covid app again to go to a pub or restaurant, using face masks in all indoor spaces, and having to show a vaccine passport at even more venues
The first part of the Government’s Plan B comes into force today with the introduction of compulsory face masks in indoor settings such as theatres, cinemas and churches
Labour surges into SIX POINT poll lead over Boris Johnson’s Tories as support for the opposition hits highest level of his premiership after week of crisis in Downing Street
Labour has surged into a six-point poll lead over Boris Johnson’s shell-shocked Tories after a week of crisis in Downing Street.
The Conservatives fell two points to 34 per cent in a poll today amid widespread fury at Covid rule-busting parties last Christmas.
Labour has risen a point to 40 per cent according to the Survation poll for the Daily Mirror, carried out today and yesterday.
Support for the opposition is now at the highest level the pollster has recorded since Boris Johnson took power in 2019.
It is not the first dismal poll this week for the PM. Labour also had a four-point lead in the Redfield & Wilton poll, the largest since the 2019 총선거.
The scale of the damage to the Tories from the partying revelations, which followed the sleaze row, has been underlined with the poll showing 63 per cent of voters think the PM should resign.
수요일에, Mr Johnson announced a sudden shift in the Government’s approach to tackling coronavirus, with an extension of mask-wearing from Thursday, a return to working from home on Monday and mandatory Covid passports for large venues from Wednesday.
The move provoked a barrage of Tory criticism, fuelled by suspicions the measures were introduced as an attempt to distract from the Prime Minister’s troubles over an alleged staff party in Downing Street during last December’s lockdown.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, a senior member of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs, said Mr Johnson must ‘get a grip’ or risk losing the backing of his party.
He warned the PM that if his ‘bad month’ – which also saw fury over Tory sleaze – continued in the New Year, ‘then I think there would be a serious change of mind of giving him the benefit of the doubt’.
The scale of the Tory revolt means Mr Johnson may have to rely on Opposition support if his Plan B measures are to clear the Commons on Tuesday. Labour has said it will back the regulations, while the Liberal Democrats will support working from home but not vaccine passports.
A senior Tory source warned: ‘I think we will get it through with Opposition support, but there will be such a bloodbath within our party when the dissatisfaction sets in.’
Tory MP David Warburton labelled Plan B ‘confused, contradictory, arbitrary and wholly disproportionate’, 첨가: ‘This insanity needs to end.’ The new measures will not stop colleagues meeting at a pub to work, and officials suggested an exemption on face-covering rules would allow people to remove their masks in shops or cinemas to sing.
Tory Greg Smith said: ‘Go to the pub, but don’t go to work, wear a mask when shopping (unless you want to sing)… where will this end?’
Mansfield MP Ben Bradley branded vaccine passports ‘ineffective and discriminatory’, and said he could not ‘vote for restrictions ‘just in case’ at a time when hospitalisations and deaths are falling’.
Asked whether Tory rebels will be putting lives at risk, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘The advice that we have received is without action – given the incredibly fast growth rate of this variant – the consequences, in terms of hospitalisations and deaths, could be severe.’
11.45오전: Boris Johnson leaves a London NHS hospital on Thursday morning after his wife Carrie gave birth to a baby girl – 그들의 두 번째 – and his seventh child. At 7.40am (권리) Boris Johnson ‘s wife Carrie was pictured arriving before she gave birth to the Prime Minister’s seventh child on Thursday – a baby girl
Passengers on a Jubilee line Tube in London on Thursday morning after Boris Johnson announced that restrictions will step up
The public appeared to have already voted with their feet yesterday as pictures showed London stations eerily quiet
At a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday night, the PM declared that people should once again work from home where possible, as well as extending use of masks and introducing Covid passports for nightclubs
In signs of Cabinet tensions, Sajid Javid on Thursday dismissed a hint from the PM that mandatory vaccination might be looked at in future, saying that would be ‘ethically wrong’
Canada Water Tube station looked less busy than usual after the PM announced restrictions to combat the Omicron strain
What are the new Covid rules in England?
The return of work from home guidance. People will be told to work from home in England from Monday if they are able to.
Face masks will be made compulsory in most public indoor venues including in cinemas and theatres from this Friday. They will not be required in pubs, restaurants and gyms.
The NHS Covid pass will be compulsory to gain access to nightclubs and other large venues where large crowds gather.
This will apply to all unseated indoor venues with more than 500 사람들, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any venue with more than 10,000 사람들.
Two vaccine doses will be treated as fully-vaccinated but this will be kept under review because of the booster programme.
A negative lateral flow test will also be sufficient.
This requirement will be rolled out in one week’s time to give businesses time to prepare.
Contacts of Omicron cases will be told to take daily coronavirus tests instead of having to self-isolate. They will have to quarantine if they test positive.
Several Cabinet ministers, including Kwasi Kwarteng, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Grant Shapps, are understood to feel Plan B is unnecessary at this point.
Tory former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the Cabinet was ‘full of scaredy-cats’ who panic rather than resist fresh curbs.
Questioned in a round of interviews on Thursday morning over whether it makes sense to instruct staff to work from home but go to parties and other social events, 자비드 씨가 말했다: ‘I think it is proportionate, 실제로, when you look at these measures, whether it is the working-from-home guidance, the rules around face masks, the NHS Covid pass, and all of these.
‘It is a real sort of spectrum of response that you can have.
‘It could be guidance, you could have Covid passes clearly in more settings, you could have face masks in more settings, but you have to take a balanced decision that takes into account a number of factors and, 물론이야, the key here is to slow the spread of the new variant, and these measures will help do that.’
그는 BBC 라디오 4의 투데이 프로그램에: '하지만 나를 불러서 치마를 벗고 G-string을 흔드는 것은, 물론이야, keep them under review, but they will have a significant impact in slowing the spread of the variant.’
Economic experts have criticised the restrictions ahead of the crucial pre-Christmas period, warning they could cost the economy £4billion a month and ‘easily’ knock two per cent off the size of the economy.
The hospitality industry said Plan B will kill off festive trade – a period when pubs, nightclubs and restaurants make a third of their annual profits. There are calls for a return to furlough and cash grants for restaurants, 술집, 카페, and bars.
Clive Wilson, Chairman of The City Pub Company, said together with rising energy costs and other pressures he expected to price of a pint to rise by around 40p.
‘For restaurants and the late night economy – a third of your profit is made in December. People have described this as a body blow – it’s more than that – it’s taking off the life support machine yet again,’ 그는 말했다.
‘And I notice that the Chancellor is not providing any further state aid.
‘The current state aid is not enough. Please please give us that enhanced state aid to help us get through those leaner months otherwise a lot of businesses in our sector will run out of cash.’
The leaked video of No10 staff rehearsing for a press conference that detonated the Christmas party row
In the bombshell video a No 10 aide asks a question about ‘a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night’, to which Allegra Stratton laughed and replied: '집에 갔다.’ Downing Stree
Downing Street’s had hoped that the row over the alleged lockdown-busting Christmas party a year ago was fading away.
But the situation escalated dramatically when ITV News was leaked footage from a mock press conference.
It shows the PM’s aides putting his then-press secretary Allegra Stratton through her paces. She had been preparing to start hosting televised briefings for journalists weeks later – although that idea was embarrassingly shelved.
And damagingly one of the questions thrown at her during the session on December 22 referenced the ‘party’ four days earlier.
Ed Oldfield (PM’s special adviser): ‘I’ve just seen reports on Twitter that there was a Downing Street Christmas party on Friday night, do you recognise those reports?’
알레그라 스트래튼: ‘I went home ('우리는 털사 경찰서가 경찰관들을 무시하고 심지어 노골적으로 용인하는 빈번한 관행에 대해 더욱 문제가 있습니다.)… hold on, hold on, erm, err…’
Ed Oldfield: ‘Would the Prime Minister condone having a Christmas party?’
알레그라 스트래튼: ‘('우리는 털사 경찰서가 경찰관들을 무시하고 심지어 노골적으로 용인하는 빈번한 관행에 대해 더욱 문제가 있습니다.) What’s the answer?’
Ed Oldfield: ‘모르겠어요!’
Downing Street Employee (unidentified): ‘It wasn’t a party… it was cheese and wine.’
알레그라 스트래튼: ‘Is cheese and wine alright? It was a business meeting.’
Downing Street Employee: '아니! … was joking!’
알레그라 스트래튼: ‘('우리는 털사 경찰서가 경찰관들을 무시하고 심지어 노골적으로 용인하는 빈번한 관행에 대해 더욱 문제가 있습니다.) This is recorded. This fictional party was a business meeting… ('우리는 털사 경찰서가 경찰관들을 무시하고 심지어 노골적으로 용인하는 빈번한 관행에 대해 더욱 문제가 있습니다.) and it was not socially distanced. Umm one more and then we’ll… one more. Anybody have any questions today?’
Economic experts also criticised the move ahead of the crucial pre-Christmas period, warning they could cost the economy £4 billion a month and ‘easily’ knock 2 per cent off the size of the economy.
Lord Sugar tweeted that the Prime Minister must be removed from office, 속담: ‘Plan B. Boris is mental. Work from home but you can go to nightclubs and football matches if you are double vax. The man must go. Correct me if I am wrong but I have not heard of any one who had to go to hospital with this new strain let alone die. Small BIZ will collapse’.
Road congestion in London was on Thursday at its lowest level of the week so far for the morning rush hour, with TomTom data giving a figure of 68 per cent between 8am and 9am this morning.
This was down from 75 어제 퍼센트, 79 per cent on Tuesday and 69 per cent on Monday for the same time period. It was also down on Thursday of last week, which was 73 퍼센트.
TomTom data also revealed that Thursday saw the lowest congestion on a midweek day of Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday since the start of November.
It was last at such a low level when Thursday, 십일월 4 had the same figure as Thursday of 68 퍼센트.
The midweek day analysis is important because in recent months many workers have been working from home on Mondays and Fridays but going into the office from Tuesday to Thursday.
The congestion level represents the extra travel time for drivers on average compared to baseline uncongested conditions – so a 68 per cent level means a 30-minute trip will take 20 minutes more than with no traffic.
In the Commons last night, Mr Harper said the evidence on the spread of Omicron, which has yet to hospitalise a single person in the UK, simply ‘doesn’t support the introduction of these measures’.
He told MPs: ‘Over the past couple of weeks the Government’s credibility, whether it’s on Paterson or on the Christmas parties, has taken a hit.
‘Why should people at home, listening to the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary, do things that people working in No10 are not prepared to do?’
Fellow Tory Philip Davies criticised the ‘latest in a long line of arbitrary, unnecessary, socialist measures’ and suggested Mr Javid had ‘gone native’.
The Covid clampdown came just hours after the PM issued a rare apology over a leaked video that showed his former press secretary Allegra Stratton and other No10 aides appearing to laugh and joke about the alleged Christmas party during a mock press conference.
The video infuriated relatives of Covid victims who pointed out they had been unable to visit their dying loved ones under lockdown rules in place at the time when No10 staff were partying.
Mr Johnson yesterday repeated his claim that no rules had been broken.
But Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientist, appeared to take a swipe at No 10’s conduct when they stood alongside Mr Johnson last night imploring people to follow the restrictions.
Sir Patrick said: ‘The rules are quite carefully thought through… and they’re there for everybody to stick to.’
Shoppers ‘could get round mask rules by singing’
Shoppers would be allowed to remove their face coverings in supermarkets if they walked around the store singing, according to new coronavirus rules.
Under Plan B, which was enacted by the Prime Minister on Wednesday, face coverings will become compulsory in most public indoor venues from Friday, including cinemas, theatres and places of worship, but not gyms, bars or restaurants.
Masks are already required on public transport and in shops.
Boris Johnson on Wednesday that there was an exemption for singing.
This was mainly seen as being applicable to places of worship where a mask should be worn during the service but could be removed to sing carols or hymns.
But officials confirmed on Thursday this would also be applicable to other indoor settings.
Asked whether a shopper could therefore remove their mask in Tesco if they were singing, it was confirmed that would be within the rules, as would removing the mask to sing in a theatre.
But officials stressed there needed to be a ‘reasonable excuse’ so singing in the supermarket would be pushing the limits of the law.
Khan은 수요일 밤 런던 남부의 O2 Academy Brixton에서 열린 NME 시상식에서 징을 발표하면서 무대에서 야유를 받았습니다.: ‘I would urge, as the public has been throughout, to be responsible and sensible, and that is what we have seen.’
Professor Whitty added: ‘We all know that people get very angry, including colleagues and friends, when they feel that it’s unfair.’
At a stormy session of Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Mr Johnson issued a rare apology for the Christmas party video row, saying he was ‘furious’ to see the clip of No 10 aides ‘seeming to make light of lockdown measures’.
그는 덧붙였다: ‘I apologise unreservedly for the offence that it has caused up and down the country, and I apologise for the impression that it gives.’ ‘But I repeat that I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken, and that is what I have been repeatedly assured.’
아니 10 said that it was ‘categorically untrue’ to suggest the move to Plan B had been accelerated to divert attention from the disastrous coverage of alleged rule-breaking by the PM’s staff.
Mr Johnson also insisted that the emerging evidence about the rapid spread of the virus had left him with no choice but to move now: ‘You’ve got to act to protect public health when you’ve got the clear evidence. The best way to ensure we all have a Christmas as close to normal as possible is to get on with Plan B. Irritating though it may be, it is not a lockdown.’
He also said that the best way to avoid a huge wave of the virus next month was for people to follow the new rules and get their booster jabs.
A Whitehall source last night said the introduction of Plan B was designed to slow the spread of the new variant and shift the expected peak next month back to February or March, by which time many more people will have had their booster jabs.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Prime Minister’s apology ‘raises more questions than answers’ because he had been ‘caught red-handed’.
그는 덧붙였다: ‘Millions of people now think the Prime Minister was taking them for fools, that they were lied to.’
Wes Streeting, Labour’s health spokesman, said Labour supported the new restrictions as being ‘in the national interest’, meaning they will almost certainly be approved in the Commons.
But Mr Johnson is certain to face a Tory backlash when MPs vote on the measures next Tuesday while party members have threatened to quit.
It’s Hogma-NAY for Scots! Public Health Scotland tells people to CANCEL Christmas and New Year parties due to fears over rising Omicron cases – despite Boris telling the English to carry on with their planned festivities
Jamie Phillips for MailOnline
총 108 cases of the mutant Covid strain were reported in Scotland between November 1 and December 8, with official figures showing nearly half of all positive tests are in the 20-39 age bracket.
Dr Nick Phin, the director of public health science and medical director at Public Health Scotland, has now urged families to put off any planned Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations to help in the battle against the raging variant.
그는 말했다: ‘To help minimise the further spread of 코로나 19, and Omicron in particular, I would strongly urge people to defer their Christmas parties to another time.’
Last year’s celebrations were also cancelled because of rising cases, with Ms Sturgeon suggesting that the public ‘should ring in 2021 in our own homes’.
Latest Scottish Government figures also show there were 16 coronavirus deaths and 3,196 cases recorded within the past 24 시간.
It brought Scotland’s Covid death toll, under the daily measure of people who first tested positive within the previous 28 일, ...에 9,688.
총 108 cases of the mutant Covid strain were reported in Scotland between November 1 and December 8
Christmas revellers have been urged to delay festive parties as part of a bid to tackle the rapid spread of the Omicron Covid variant
다시 2019, thousands took part in an annual torchlight procession along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile towards Holyrood Park as Scotland marked the start of its Hogmanay celebrations
The Scottish government is urging people to put their plans for winter festivities on hold while Omicron Covid variant cases continue to rise
In a plea to Scotland residents, Dr Phin said: ‘There is much that we still need to learn about Omicron, but early evidence suggests that this new Covid variant is much more transmissible.
‘The impact of this transmissibility has been seen in recent weeks, with a number of Omicron outbreaks linked to parties.
‘We still need to learn more about the severity of disease caused by Omicron and the effectiveness of vaccines, but there are important things that we can do to help protect ourselves and our families now.
‘I appreciate that everyone is keen to celebrate this festive season, particularly after the pressures of the last 20 개월, but by postponing some plans we can all do our bit to protect ourselves and our loved ones.’
The health body has also urged people to test at least twice weekly with lateral flow devices and each time they are socialising with people outside their household.
It also advised that, as well as vaccinating and receiving booster jabs, people should follow other public health advice of handwashing and wearing face masks.
The latest data, published on Thursday, shows a total of 4,358,725 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination in Scotland, 동안 3,967,477 are double jabbed and 2,000,915 have received a third dose or booster.
노동당이 이긴다는 뜻, vaccine passports have been in force since October, with people who are attending nightclubs, indoor events (unseated) 와 500 or more people, outdoor events (unseated) 와 4,000 or more people and any event with 10,000 or more having to show they are double vaccinated before entering.
12 월부터 6, a negative PCR test taken within 24 hours of entry to a venue or a negative lateral flow test have also been accepted as part of the passes. Scotland’s Covid passes are called the NHS Scotland COVID Status app.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends First Minster’s Questions (FMQ’s) at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday
A courier walks towards a testing station at Edinburgh Airport on Monday after the UK government tightened rules due to the spread of Omicron variant
Last year’s celebrations were also cancelled because of rising cases, with Ms Sturgeon suggesting that the public ‘should ring in 2021 in our own homes’. 사진: Princes Street in Edinburgh late on December 31, 2020
It comes as a total of 389 confirmed confirmed or possible cases have now been reported, 와 108 cases confirmed between November 1 and December 8.
Of that figure, 48 per cent were aged 20 ...에 39.
Public Health Scotland says there has been early detection of a large number of cases at events which typically attract younger people.
It includes six Omicron cases in Scotland being linked to a Steps concert at Glasgow’s Hydro venue on November 22.
Nicola Sturgeon also ramped up work from home orders for Scots on Tuesday, demanding businesses make sure people stay away from offices.
Amid fears that the mutant strain is on track to sweep the country within weeks, the First Minister insisted that none of the current restrictions north of the border will be eased before Christmas.
The SNP leader said: ‘I know this is difficult, but I cannot stress enough how much difference we think this could make in helping stem transmission and avoid the need for even more onerous measures.’
In a direct call to employers, Ms Sturgeon added: ‘If you had staff working from home at this start of the pandemic, please now enable them to do so again’.
She also urged Scots to follow rules around testing and self-isolation should they have symptoms, as well as regular lateral flow testing