Boris Johnson may trigger 'Plan B' Covid plan at press conference today 8 months ago

Boris Johnson may trigger 'Plan B' Covid plan at press conference today

The Prime Minister is set to hold a press conference later today

Brits could face new Covid curbs this Christmas with Boris Johnson expected to hold a press conference Wednesday as ministers duck interviews in the wake of the Downing Street Christmas party scandal.

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Vaccine passports may soon be required at crowded venues and people will be advised to work from home, multiple news outlets have reported.

The threat from the Omicron variant means that the PM is considering 'Plan B' for the festive period, with speculation that could it could be put in place within the coming days.

Downing Street is said to have made no final decision, but ministers and officials convened on Wednesday to move to plan B and to begin imposing some restrictions as early as Wednesday night, the Guardian reported.

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Given video has emerged showing Downing Street aides joking and laughing about a social gathering last Christmas - while restrictions were in place - the new announcements are not expected to be warmly received.

A Whitehall source told the Guardian: “You can say it’s a distraction but it’s necessary. My worry is that we’ve lost our hearing with the public on this and we can’t do proper comms.”

Scientists fear Omicron could be three times more infectious than other variants and have suggested as many as 1,000 people in the UK could be catching the new strain daily while new cases are doubling every three days.

Omicron cases in the UK increased to 437 on Tuesday with 101 new infections confirmed. On Wednesday, another 131 cases were recorded, taking the total to 568.

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Professor Alastair Grant, of the University of East Anglia, has worked out one in 50 cases are now caused by Omicron — around 1,000 a day - using official data from the UK Health Security Agency.

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The professor gave a “worst-case” scenario where there may be 2,500 Omicron cases in England, the Mirror reported.

Prof Tim Spector, from the Covid Zoe app, said that in around 10 days' time the UK could have more cases of Omicron than some countries it had put on the travel red list.

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He told BBC Breakfast: "The official estimates are about 350-odd Omicron cases, and because the current testing is missing a lot of those, it's probably at least 1,000 to 2,000 I would guess at the moment."

The professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London continued: "And we are expecting this to be doubling about every two days at the moment, so if you do your maths - say assumed it's 1,000 at the moment, and you think it's going to be doubling every two days, you can see that those numbers are going to be pretty (high) certainly in about 10 days time,"

"By that time, we'll probably have more cases than they will in some of those African countries. So I think these travel restrictions do perhaps have their place initially, when cases are really low here and really high in the other country, but when we reach that equilibrium, there's very little point in having them in my opinion."