Health minister tells LBC: Don't plan NYE party if you can't cancel quickly

22 December 2021, 09:41 | Updated: 22 December 2021, 15:14

By Megan Hinton

A minister told LBC today that people shouldn't make plans for New Year's Eve parties that can't be cancelled "quickly."

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Speaking to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, health minister Gillian Keegan warned the public that New Year's eve events will be "uncertain" as the Government waits for further data on the Omicron variant.

When asked whether or not it was a good idea for Nick to could send out his New Year's eve party invitations, the MP 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."

The Minister revealed her own New Years plans had been dashed by travel restrictions but explained she was still planning to see two family member on the night for celebrations.

Her warnings come after Boris Johnson confirmed Christmas plans will not be scrapped last minute this year, but refused to rule out further restrictions ahead of New Year's Eve.

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

Speaking yesterday, the Prime Minister said: "So what I can say tonight, is that naturally we can't rule out any further measures after Christmas - and we're going to keep a constant eye on the data, and we'll do whatever it takes to protect public health.

"But in view of the continuing uncertainty about several things – the severity of Omicron, uncertainty about the hospitalisation rate or the impact of the vaccine rollout or the boosters, we don't think today that there is enough evidence to justify any tougher measures before Christmas."

The planned New Year's Eve celebrations in London's Trafalgar Square have already been called off because of a surge in Covid cases.

With London Mayor Sadiq Khan saying: "This will be very disappointing for many Londoners, but we must take the right steps to reduce the spread of the virus."

In Scotland outdoors events including football matches and other sports will be cut to a maximum of 500 people and indoor events reduced to 200 with seating and 100 with standing in plans due to kick in from Boxing Day.

Read more: Christmas rail crisis as Covid hits staff and firms warn of 'short notice cancellations'

Read more: Welsh workers could be fined £60 for going to the office but can still go to the pub

That will impact Hogmanay celebrations, including the large-scale Edinburgh street party, and major sports events like the Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic on January 2.

Whilst in Wales the government has changed legislation to make attending a workplace unnecessarily, a criminal offence.

However, people in Wales are still allowed to leave home to visit pubs and restaurants, and there is no limit on household mixing.

The latest restrictions in Wales also include the closure of nightclubs from December 27, and compulsory distancing through measures such as one-way systems in businesses to protect customers and staff.

From December 26, sporting events whether indoors or outdoors will be played behind closed doors.