Glad Tidings! England Escapes Any New Lockdown Rules for New Year’s Eve

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Confetti is fired into the crowd as Nightclub Circus hosts the first dance event, which will welcome 6,000 clubbers to the city's Bramley-Moore Dock warehouse on April 30, 2021 in Liverpool, England. The event is part of the national Events Research Programme which will provide …
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England will escape any more coronavirus restrictions being imposed for New Year’s Eve after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was briefed by scientific advisors on Monday.

The local devolved governments of the UK, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, have all implemented fresh lockdown restrictions on Boxing Day, however, England will not follow suit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government had previously warned that it would not hesitate to introduce more lockdown measures following Christmas should the data justify such a move, yet the meeting on Monday failed to convince the PM to do so, the BBC reports.

Confirming the decision, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “When we get into the new year, of course we will see then whether we do need to take any further measures, but nothing more until then at least.”

The latest data of cases in the UK from the Christmas period has yet to be published, yet, the country has been facing rising cases — due in large part to the omicron variant — climbing to 122,186 cases reported on Christmas Eve.

However, there has been some indication that those infected with the omicron variant are less likely to be hospitalised. The latest figures have shown that there were 7,536 patients in hospital on December 26 compared to 18,350 on the same day last year.

Commenting on the figures, a consultant in acute medicine at Oxford University Hospitals, Dr Raghib Ali said: “I think we should be cautiously optimistic and wait for the coming days’ data before bringing in new restrictions.

“Staff absence is a major issue, but a decreased isolation period should help. I think we can wait to see the trend in the coming days,” he told the The Telegraph.

The government has promised MPs that they would be given a vote on the introduction of any new restrictions, and with Prime Minister Boris Johnson failing to recall parliament on Monday indicates that England will likely be free from any new measures during the new year. Yet, the government will continue to hold regular reviews of the data, meaning the situation is still fluid.

Influential Tory MP and treasurer of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown told LBC Radio: “The latest figures we had before Christmas showed that the number of cases in hospital was relatively stable – and that is the main measure why we need any further lockdowns, is to deal with infectivity in hospitals, and I don’t see that before Christmas.

“So, I hope the Prime Minister will be very, very cautious before introducing further measures.”

England does currently have some restrictions in place, such as mask requirements in public settings as well as mandatory COVID passes to gain entry to large events.

The indecision from the government has led to chaos for many businesses, with preparations for Christmas and New Year’s Eve being thrown into turmoil by a lack of clarity over potential new lockdowns.

The owner of Beerd bar in Bristol, Paul Kemp told the BBC: “People need to know now, they’ve got staff that they need to put in place, they’ve got security that they need to book, they’ve got stock that they need to order. He needs to tell people now, right now so they know what they are doing.”

England has faired better than its counterparts in the UK in remaining free, however, with Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland all announcing new restrictions on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) including limits on gatherings.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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