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28th Nov 2021

Health secretary says there are ‘no guarantees’ around Christmas

Steve Hopkins

But Brits advised to continue with Christmas plans as normal….

Sajid Javid has said it would be “irresponsible” to give reassurances around Christmas as it was confirmed Sunday that tighter rules around face masks and travel would come into force on Tuesday.

The Health Secretary was asked what assurances he could give Brits around the festive season during an appearance on Sky’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday after two cases of the new Omicron variant were detected in the UK on Saturday.

Phillips asked Javid: “What are we going to see by Christmas-time, can you reassure us, can you guarantee, that we are going to be able to see our families, our loved ones, that we’re still going to be able to travel at Christmas time?

Javid replied: “You ask me for guarantees. I think it is fair to say the nature of this pandemic is that, it would be irresponsible to make guarantees.”

He then went on to provide some reassurance, saying: “But what I can tell you, is that the actions that we’ve taken, these proportionate and balanced actions, will buy us time, it will give us, there are precious weeks certainly that our scientists need to assess this variant, as for, you ask about Christmas, people should continue with their plans as normal for Christmas, I think it is going to be a great Christmas.”


Rules around face masks are part of a raft of changes set out at a Downing Street press conference on Saturday and bring England in line with other parts of the UK.

Read more: Boris Johnson announces raft of new measures as two cases of Omicron variant detected in UK

Boris Johnson on Saturday announced that PCR tests would be required for all overseas arrivals. The red list was also extended from six to 10 countries with arrivals needing to quarantine for 10 days. MPs are due to vote on confirming the measures after they come into force and the changes are due to be assessed in three weeks’ time.

According to a message on the passenger locator form section of the government’s website, testing and self-isolation requirements will change for people travelling into the UK from 4am on Tuesday.

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Javid told Sky News the actions being taken were “proportionate and balanced”, and he hoped they could be lifted “within weeks”.

The health secretary said he did not think stricter measures needed to be imposed just yet as social distancing and work from home directives “carry a very heavy price, economically, socially, in terms of non-Covid health outcomes”.

“If one was to make decisions like that they’d have to be made very very carefully, we’re not there yet, we’re nowhere near that,” he added.

The two Omicron cases were detected in Brentwood, Essex, and Nottingham.

Officials said the cases were linked and connected to travel in southern Africa, where the new variant was first identified.