Boris Johnson to hold Covid press conference today after hospitals declare 'critical incidents' 5 months ago

Boris Johnson to hold Covid press conference today after hospitals declare 'critical incidents'

The Prime Minister will host a 5pm Covid press conference  as coronavirus cases continue to surge

Boris Johnson will host a virtual press conference from Downing Street this evening amid staggering Omicron case numbers.

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The Prime Minister will update the country at 5pm following the news that at least six hospitals have declared "critical incidents" in recent days, with experts warning the NHS is "in a state of crisis".

A further 157,758 coronavirus cases and 42 Covid-related deaths were recorded in the latest 24-hour period, official figures show.

Ministers continue to insist "Plan B is working", which includes mandates like working at home if possible, masks in crowded spaces, and the booster programme, but Whitehall departments have been asked to draw up backup plans to account for 25% of staff being absent. The measures could see the introduction of troops to help in supermarkets and with transit.

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While a number of studies have confirmed Omicron is a milder strain than the previously-dominant Delta, the highly transmissible variant has been driving significant workforce shortages and skyrocketing case rates.

The NHS, supermarkets, and rail services have all reported dangerously low staff numbers. One company, Southern Rail, is unable to run services into London Victoria until the January 10, owing to the "ongoing effect of coronavirus isolation and sickness".

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It's thought up to one million people are currently off sick, or self-isolating from work this week.

Johnson is expected to be briefed on the data on Tuesday, and hold a Cabinet meeting Wednesday morning.

MPs will then be formally updated by the PM or Health Secretary Sajid Javid in the commons at around 4PM, following PMQs which is scheduled for the later time of 3PM.

Speaking this afternoon Health Secretary Sajid Javid lamented we were "sadly" seeing the number of people in hospital with the Omicron variant rise but ruled out any further restrictions.

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Downing Street have also acknowledged the NHS faced a “difficult time” but insisted there was nothing in the data to warrant tighter public health measures.

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