Health Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that no new Covid-19 restrictions will be announced for England ahead of the New Year.
Mr Javid has confirmed that any additional measures have been ruled out before 2022 after the Prime Minister and fellow ministers were updated on the Omicron situation earlier today.
It comes after speculation that new measures would be introduced following Christmas, after a period of rapidly rising Covid and Omicron cases throughout the country.
At a glance: 5 key points
- Sajid Javid has confirmed that no additional Covid restrictions will be introduced in England ahead of 31 December
- The Health Secretary’s update came after the Prime Minister was briefed on Omicron data from over Christmas Day and Boxing Day
- Over the festive period, England recorded a pandemic high of 113,628 daily cases on 25 December
- Despite other UK nations previously announcing restrictions for citizens from Boxing Day onwards, the Prime Minister did not announce additional measures for those in England, with the Mr Javid now confirmed that there will be no more announcements before 31 December
- Although no new restrictions have been announced in England, the Health Secretary did warn that “people should remain cautious” about the situation
What did Sajid Javid say about New Year?
The Health Secretary updated the nation after Boris Johnson and fellow ministers were briefed on Omicron and Covid data over the festive period.
As expected, there was a delay in statistics being published on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve with the data for the three days being revealed on 27 December.
Following this briefing, it was rumoured that the Prime Minister would not immediately introduce any new restrictions, with Mr Javid confirming that this is the case until 31 December.
He said: “We look at the data on a daily basis – that hasn’t changed over the Christmas period.
“But there will be no further measures before the new year. Of course, people should remain cautious as we approach New Year’s celebrations.”
Around 90% of new Covid-19 cases reported in England are believed to be the Omicron variant.
The Health Secretary urged the public to ring in the New Year with outdoor celebrations and asked that those celebrating test before meeting with others.
He added: “Please remain cautious and 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.”
What else did Sajid Javid say about Omicron?
The move to not announce new restrictions in England comes after Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all announced new restrictions which were put in place from Boxing Day onwards.
Mr Javid believed that England has made “the right decision” in their fight against the coronavirus.
He said: ““It’s for each country that makes up the United Kingdom to decide how it wants to go forward.
“So for example in England, we decided back in July that we would open up in the summer.
“I think we look back now and that has been the right decision.”
Mr Javid continued to urge those eligible to get their Covid-19 vaccines and booster jabs after revealing that a “disproportionate” number of unvaccinated people were being admitted to hospital.
He said: “Can I please say to people, please do come forward… protect yourselves, protect your loved ones and protect your community.”
How many Covid cases are there in England?
Three days worth of data was published on 27 December due to an effective shutdown during the festive weekend.
There were a record-breaking 113,628 cases recorded in England on Christmas Day, with a further 103,558 recorded on Boxing Day.
As of 9am on 27 December, a further 98,515 cases were also confirmed.
Between 25 and 27 December, 143 people in England died within 28 days of receiving a positive result.