PM will wait until after Christmas Day to announce any Covid restrictions for England

22 December 2021, 20:11 | Updated: 23 December 2021, 09:38

England is the only part of the Uk to not announce rules for after Christmas.
England is the only part of the Uk to not announce rules for after Christmas. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Boris Johnson will not make any announcements on further Covid-19 measures for England before Christmas Day, leaving hospitality businesses waiting until the last minute to know if New Year plans can go ahead.

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No10 has confirmed there will not be any announcements today or tomorrow, but there could still be announcements made after December 25.

The government has said it is closely monitoring the data on Omicron's severity.

England has become the only part of the UK to not introduce Covid restrictions from Boxing Day, in a bid to stop the spread of Omicron.

Boris Johnson is under added pressure to outline his plans for the rest of the festive period after previously confirming that no new measures would be introduced before Christmas Day.

He refused to rule out more measures after the big day but is yet to impose any changes - unlike the devolved nations.

The government says it is 'monitoring' Covid data after early studies found Omicron may cause milder illness than Delta.

Research from Imperial College London indicates that people with PCR-confirmed Omicron are 15 to 20% less likely to need admission to hospital, and 40 to 45 per cent less likely to require a stay of one night or more.

Northern Ireland earlier announced that nightclubs will close from 8pm on 26 December.

Other measures include a limit on mixing to a maximum of three households from 27 December and a return to the rule of six for indoor hospitality.

Scotland announced on Tuesday that crowds at indoor and outdoor public events would be limited for three weeks from Boxing Day as well as table service and social distancing inside hospitality and leisure venues.

Wales also followed suit, confirming on Wednesday that the rule of six would return for hospitality venues from 26 December, with a limit on indoor events imposed too.

Read more: 'Go ahead with your plans': Boris Johnson confirms no new Covid restrictions for Christmas

Read more: Covid self-isolation period cut from 10 days to seven in bid to save Christmas

It comes after minister for care, Gillian Keegan, told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that there is "uncertainty" around people making plans for New Year's Eve.

She said: "All I will say is there is uncertainty so if, you know, you cant change your plans quickly then maybe think about it.

"We are trying to take a balanced and proportionate approach so that people can see their families over Christmas, to try and plan some stuff.

"But of course it is difficult to anticipate because we don’t have that future data yet we have to get the data and we have to analyse it in real time."

Labour has pressed for decisions to be made as soon as possible, with shadow work and pensions secretary, Jon Ashworth, telling Sky News: "Businesses have got to make decisions about what stock to get in, in the run-up to New Year's Eve, so I think it would be reasonable for the Government to produce a road map, if you like, a plan of what they think may well be anticipated in terms of further restrictions post-Christmas so people know where we stand."