PM says 'be sensible' for NYE, as people 'plan to travel to England to escape Covid rules'

29 December 2021, 10:43 | Updated: 29 December 2021, 14:30

The Prime Minister has urged caution over New Year's celebrations.
The Prime Minister has urged caution over New Year's celebrations. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Boris Johnson has urged Brits to be "sensible" as reports emerge that people could escape Scottish and Welsh Covid restrictions by travelling to England to celebrate the New Year.

The Government has not imposed post-Christmas measures to curb the spread of Omicron, while the devolved administrations have.

It has led to suggestions people could travel in to England to party, and circumvent local rules.

Boris Johnson said on Wednesday morning: "I think everybody should enjoy New Year but in a cautious and sensible way."

The Prime Minister said Covid "continues to cause real problems" and acknowledged hospital cases are rising across the UK.

"But, on the other hand, we can see the data about the relative mildness of Omicron.

"What we can also see is the very, very clear effect of getting those jabs, getting those boosters in particular - and that's what's making a huge difference."

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

"That is allowing us to go ahead with New Year in the cautious way that we are."

Mr Johnson said up to 90% of those currently in ICU with coronavirus have not been boosted.

He urged people to come forward and receive the booster jab.

"Come forward and get your booster, it’s a fantastic thing to do."

Asked about reports of people from Scotland planning to cross the border into England to celebrate New Year, Mr Johnson said: "I think everybody should enjoy new year but in a cautious and sensible way.

Read more: 'Jabby new year': NHS to send hundreds of thousands more texts in fresh booster plea

"Take a test, ventilation, think about others but above all get a booster."

It is not against coronavirus rules to travel to England, and LBC understands there are no plans to impose road blocks or checks at borders to prevent people from doing so.

Cumbria Police told LBC: "We will be ensuring that key areas of the county - including Carlisle city centre - are well-resourced on New Year's Eve to help keep people safe.

"Whilst there are no restrictions preventing people from travelling to the county from elsewhere, in-line with national public health advice, we would encourage people to remain cautious in making their plans and to seek to take a lateral flow test prior to attending any events."

Scotland and Wales have imposed strict restrictions on socialising, with Scotland cancelling Hogmanay celebrations and imposing guidance of a three household limit on indoor gatherings.

Many have taken to social media to express frustration at the different rules across the UK.

One Twitter user said: "Imagine being stuck in the house watching NYE parties going off across England. Welsh friends of ours [are] travelling to us to see the new year in. They're not happy."

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to give an update on covid restrictions in Scotland this afternoon.

It is not known if new restrictions are going to be imposed. This comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid said no new measures will be imposed in England before the new year.

Ms Sturgeon said she understands everyone is "sick and tired" of restrictions, but urged the public to limit socialising as much as possible over the New Year.

A record number of coronavirus cases were recorded in England yesterday.

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

Meanwhile the number of people in hospital with coronavirus was 9,546, less than a third of the peak in January of this year.

Care minister Gillian Keegan yesterday told LBC the Omicron variant "does seem to be a bit milder in terms of severity."

The Prime Minister said the variant is "obviously milder than the delta variant."