The government wants you to take a tier-system approach to friendships as Omicron spreads
Boris Johnson stopped short of telling people not to socialise
The prime minister has warned that Covid "records will be broken a lot" in the next few weeks as Omicron infections hit record levels on Wednesday, and urged Brits to limit social interactions.
Boris Johnson, flanked by England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and Dr Nikki Kanani, medical director of primary care for NHS England, confirmed at a press conference that no further measures would be introduced around mixing this Christmas.
"We're not cancelling events, we're not closing hospitality, we're not cancelling people's parties or their ability to mix," Johnson said, before adding: "What we are saying is: think carefully before you go."
Professor Whitty said people should prioritise “only those things that really matter to them”, warning there is a risk that events that aren't a "priority", may stop people from attending things that are.
Johnson told the press conference that his Christmas plans would be "moderate". Professor Whitty said he expected his "original plans with family will be interrupted".
While the PM has not announced new guidance for the Christmas period, it is rumoured new restrictions could be introduced as early as next week.
On Wednesday, the UK confirmed a record 78,610 cases of Coronavirus, with the UK Health Security Agency warning another "staggering" increase is to be expected in the coming days.
Official figures show 4,671 confirmed new cases of Omicron variant nearly double Tuesday's total, representing an 87 per cent day-on-day rise.
Government minister Alex Burghart has told the Commons that more than 50 per cent of cases of Covid in London are now Omicron.
While the government has reported good progress on the booster rollout, it has been suggested low vaccination rates could be contributing to a surge in Omicron in the capital.
At Wednesday's press conference, Johnson unveiled new government signposting that read "Get Boosted Now" in a bid to encourage all adults over 18 to get their booster jab, and all those aged 12 to 17 years to get their second.
Professor Whitty warned that the gap between vaccinated and unvaccinated people in hospital with Covid is likely to be "eroded" because the vaccines are less well-aligned with Omicron. He said a booster jab could provide protection against the new variant.
Whitty warned the UK was seeing increasing rates of hospitalisations rates in some areas, which he expects will increase in the coming weeks.
- If you catch covid from today you'll have to isolate for Xmas - here are the symptoms to watch out for
- Shock horror – Dominic Raab doesn’t have a clue what’s going on with Omicron
- UK Covid alert level raised to level four amid Omicron case surge