New Covid case record set as govt says people should still enjoy NYE – 'but cautiously'

28 December 2021, 18:32 | Updated: 28 December 2021, 18:39

Minister Gillian Keegan said ahead of New Year's Eve: 'Do try to enjoy yourselves… but cautiously'
Minister Gillian Keegan said ahead of New Year's Eve: 'Do try to enjoy yourselves… but cautiously'. Picture: Getty

By James Morris

The government has told people in England to “cautiously enjoy” the new year celebrations as a new record number of daily Covid cases was recorded.

Some 117,093 cases were recorded in England today, surpassing the previous record of 113,628 registered on Christmas Day.

However, the number of patients in hospital with Covid – 9,546 – remains well below the peak of 34,336 on 18 January.

Care minister Gillian Keegan today said the Omicron variant, which is driving the high case numbers, “does seem to be a bit milder in terms of severity”.

Asked how people should therefore approach New Year’s Eve, Ms Keegan mentioned the word “cautious” four times in the space of 25 seconds.

“We’ve always said act cautiously since this new variant came amongst us,” she said.

“Many people will know somebody who has caught this over the Christmas period. So do be cautious, take a lateral flow test before you go out, go to well-ventilated areas.

“So just be cautious but do try to enjoy yourselves as well… but cautiously.”

Read more: Opinion: Reliance on lateral flow tests is allowing Covid to spread

It comes after health secretary Sajid Javid yesterday ruled out new restrictions before the new year.

However, he hinted at fresh restrictions at the start of January as he said: "When we get into the new year, of course we will see then whether we do need to take any further measures – but nothing more until then at least."

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already imposed new measures in response to Omicron.