UK ministers are devising plans for a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown after Christmas to halt the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, according to The Times. Following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, England’s current Plan B includes measures such as COVID health cards for select events, mandatory face masks in most public indoor venues, including theatres and cinemas, and people being encouraged to work from home if possible.
England would reimpose restrictions on indoor social interaction, except for work-related objectives, with bars and restaurants limited to outdoor service, similar to the laws enacted in April. According to leaked minutes of a meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), the ministers are acting on recommendations from scientific advisers who have cautioned that actions beyond Plan B, are urgently required, The Guardian reported.
Hospitalizations in England might reach at least 3,000 per day
Unless limitations are imposed before January 1, according to Sage experts, hospital admissions in England might reach “at least” 3,000 per day. According to the media report, implementing a “circuit-breaker” soon may dramatically minimise the peak in hospital admission and infections compared to Plan B alone.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was allegedly presented with several options for a so-called Plan C on Friday. According to the Financial Times, these vary from gentle counselling to encouraging people all the way up to lockdown. According to various UK media reports, officials will decide whether tighter coronavirus restrictions are required over the weekend. According to Downing Street, a Cobra conference with the devolved nations over the weekend will discuss whether an united response to the threat of the Omicron variant is required across the UK.
Scientific experts’ recommendations are similar to those included in Steps One and Two of the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown announced earlier this spring. Indoor social interaction and hospitality were both outlawed at the time. Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have been between 800 and 900 every day over the past week.
93,045 COVID-19 cases reported in UK on Friday
The information of Plan ‘C’ comes as an additional 93,045 COVID-19 cases were reported in the UK on Friday, the largest daily number since the pandemic began. Concerns about the Omicron strain of the virus, which is expected to be significantly more transmissible than Delta, have led to the administration of a COVID-19 booster dose to a total of 26.3 million people aged 18 and over half of adults in the UK.
Omicron accounted for 3,201 of the daily total of cases, compared to 1,691 on Thursday. According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), this brings the overall number of cases of the new rising type in the UK to 14,909.