UK’s Johnson Says No COVID-19 Restrictions for Now, Reserves Possibility
By Staff, Agencies
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced no further COVID-19 restrictions on England but warned that the government may tighten the screws in the coming days.
Johnson added that the data related to the new coronavirus variant Omicron is "under constant review," with the situation "extremely difficult" and the "arguments either way are very, very finely balanced."
Johnson called on Britons to continue to "exercise caution," including wearing face masks, washing hands, and getting "a booster" shot.
"Those who are unvaccinated, whether out of apathy, for whatever reason, please think of this as a great thing to do for you and your family," he stated.
Downing Street rejected media reports that Monday's cabinet meeting was an emergency gathering held after the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies [SAGE] estimated that daily hospital admissions could reach 3,000 if no more restrictions are imposed.
When asked if he could guarantee that there won't be any more restrictive measures ahead of Christmas Day, the deputy prime minister said: "Well, I just can't make hard, fast guarantees."
England's death toll from the Omicron variant has, meanwhile, soared to 14, while hospital admissions for patients with confirmed or suspected Omicron increased to 129, according to the UK Health Security Agency.
The total confirmed cases of Omicron across the UK currently stand at 41,259, while a further 91,743 coronavirus cases were registered in the country on Monday, in the second-highest daily total on record.
PM Johnson earlier rolled out his "Omicron Emergency Boost" plan, which stipulates offering a COVID-19 booster jab to every adult before the end of December, a blueprint that means vaccinating about one million people a day.
Right now, the country is under so-called Plan B restrictions, which includes the introduction of health certificates for nightclubs and large events across England.
The plan was previously okayed by the British Parliament, but 99 Conservative Party members said "no" to the document, in the largest Tory revolt of Boris Johnson's time in office.