The Speaker
Thursday, 18 July 2024 – 17:32
Photo by Number 10 Downing Street (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

PM: Omicron data to be reviewed ‘hour by hour’, though no new restrictions for now

No new coronavirus measures have been announced by the Prime Minister this evening, though Boris Johnson has said that the Government will be reviewing the data on Omicron ‘hour by hour’.

A Cabinet meeting was held on Monday to discuss whether more restrictions were needed to tackle the Omicron variant. The meeting, which is thought to have lasted more than 2 hours, is not understood to have ended with an agreement for new restrictions.

It is thought that some senior ministers are concerned about the potential impacts of new restrictions, while some Cabinet members have also viewed there not to be enough data supporting new coronavirus restrictions being implemented before Christmas, despite conflicting advice from some senior scientists.

In a statement after the Cabinet meeting on Monday, the Prime Minister did not explicitly make clear what measures were under consideration, instead urging people to be cautious and get vaccinated and boosted. According to reports, the Government could implement a return to Step 2 restrictions seen in the second part of April this year. If a move was taken to re-enact the Step 2 restrictions, it is expected that indoor hospitality venues would close and indoor social mixing would be banned.

If new restrictions are announced, it is thought that MPs will be recalled to Parliament in order to debate them.

Meanwhile, Premier League football clubs agreed on Monday to continue with their Christmas fixtures schedule where possible, following high-level talks about the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant. COVID-19 cases amongst football players and staff saw a significant number of last weekend’s football games postponed. It is understood that some clubs had called for a ‘circuit-breaker’ period with one gameweek of fixtures postponed over the Christmas and New Year period – though such a move has not been adopted.

A further 91,743 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the UK in the latest 24 hours, of which 8,044 cases were of the Omicron variant.

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