Boris Johnson may introduce new Covid restrictions that could see people being told to work from home and vaccine passports required for events with crowds
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Brits may face new Covid restrictions this Christmas which could see them working from home and needing vaccine passports to attend crowded venues, it is reported.
The threat from the Omicron variant means that Boris Johnson is reportedly considering Plan B for the festive period which could be put in place in the coming days.
It comes with scientists fearing that Omicron could be three times more infectious than other variants.
They have painted a grim picture where 1,000 people in the UK could be catching the new variant each day while new cases are doubling every three days.
The government’s Plan B would mean people being told to work from home to limit the spread of the virus while vaccine passports could be enforced for entering events with crowds including football matches, it is reported.
The PM told ministers at a Cabinet meeting that the “early indications are that it is more transmissible than Delta”, the Sun reported.
But Johnson has said that there is no conclusive evidence yet to show that Omicron is worse than other variants.
The idea from the government is to move quickly to slow the spread of Omicron even though no new measures have so far been put in place.
Omicron cases in the UK have risen to 437 on Tuesday with 101 new infections confirmed.
Prof 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.
He said the high figure is due to “a mixture of it being good at transmitting itself and being a partial vaccine escape”.
Prof Grant gave a “worst-case” scenario where there may be 2,500 Omicron cases in England with two percent of positive swabs on Saturday likely to have been the latest variant.
He said: “These numbers are very preliminary. They are likely to be over-estimates as testing has focused on people at higher risk of infection because of their travel history or contact with confirmed Omicron cases.
“But it is very likely that Omicron will quickly come to dominate cases in England, and that overall case numbers will increase from their current levels.”
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.
The professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London 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.
“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.”