Boris Johnson considers new Covid curbs on Christmas Day.
Boris Johnson faces a 48-hour deadline to decide whether to impose new coronavirus curbs before Christmas, as he faces mounting Cabinet opposition to a possible further crackdown to slow the spread of Omicron.
According to The Telegraph, the Prime Minister has been presented with three options to combat the variant amid rising case numbers, the simplest of which is advice to limit household mixing indoors.
The second level would impose mandatory restrictions on household mixing, the return of social distancing, and an 8 p.m. curfew for pubs and restaurants, while the third and most severe level would impose something akin to a full lockdown.
Mr Johnson will consider his next move today, knowing that any decision to tighten Covid rules will enrage Tory MPs, according to The Mirror, who reports that the PM has cleared his calendar to meet with scientists and his advisers.
At least ten Cabinet ministers are said to be opposed to further restrictions because they are concerned about the accuracy of expert modeling on Omicron’s spread.
According to The Times, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is one of the ministers who has expressed concern about the projected numbers, after SAGE warned that there could be 3,000 patients in need of hospital treatment every day unless urgent action is taken.
On a call with the Cabinet on Saturday, Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, said that curbs should be implemented as soon as possible, but one-third of senior ministers are said to be opposed.
One Cabinet member stated that “hospitals are not being overwhelmed” and that “we’re in a battle to save Christmas,” adding that one minister has stated that if lockdown is reinstated, they will resign.
If Mr Johnson wants to tighten restrictions before Christmas, he’ll have to hurry because Parliament is currently in recess, and recalling MPs to vote on new legislation will take at least 24 hours.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab refused to rule out more restrictions before Christmas Day, saying he couldn’t make ‘hard, fast guarantees.’
‘We will have a much better Christmas than last year,’ said the Justice Secretary, adding that ‘people will need to be careful and cautious.’
Last night, Conservative MPs warned that any attempt to tighten rules before Christmas would result in letters calling for Mr Johnson’s resignation as party leader.
Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health, refused to…
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