'No need to change Christmas plans' despite Omicron fears, says Sajid Javid

1 December 2021, 08:41

By Sophie Barnett

Sajid Javid has told LBC there is "no need to change Christmas plans" over concerns about the new Omicron coronavirus variant which is spreading across the UK.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, the Secretary of State urged listeners to come forward for their booster vaccine, following different guidance from one of the government's scientific advisors and the Prime Minister himself.

Nick asked: "Who is right, Dr Jenny Harries from the UK Health Security Agency, when she suggests we should minimise contact, or Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, who says we should go ahead as normal? Who is correct?"

"There's no need to change your plans," said the Health Secretary.

"Unless they have been affected by the new rules we have put in place, so if you are asked to self-isolate for example because you have come into contact with someone with a suspected case of this new variant, then of course your plans are going to be affected.

"Other than that, just follow the guidance."

Read more: We won't impose Plan B despite Jenny Harries' gloomy Omicron comments, Boris says

Read more: Omicron: All adults to be offered Covid booster jab by end of January, PM confirms

Nick pressed the Secretary of State on whether the scientist was wrong, and Mr Javid replied: "Just follow the guidance that is already there."

He continued: "We'd already said - long before we knew about Omicron - that in the winter as each day gets a bit darker, bit colder, the virus likes that - the flu virus likes that.

"Have a bit of common sense and follow the current guidance."

His comments come after Boris Johnson slapped down senior medic Dr Jenny Harries' gloomy comments, after she told people to reduce socialising.

The Prime Minister pledged "we're not going to change" advice about stopping the spread of coronavirus, suggesting that there would be no move to 'Plan B'.

Read more: Omicron: PM gives Christmas green light as part of 'balanced and proportionate' approach

Earlier, Dr Harries, who heads up the UK Health Security Agency, suggested people could limit their socialising to stop Omicron getting around.

She said people should try to "decrease our social contacts" and avoid mixing "when we don't particularly need to".

But Mr Johnson said: "I think it's always sensible to be careful. But I think what Jenny is saying there is right, we've been living with a pandemic for a long time, people should continue to do things like make sure they have lots of fresh air, they wash their hands and take normal precautions, I think that's entirely reasonable.

"But we're not going to change the overall guidance. We don't think that's necessary. We don't see anything to suggest that we need to go, for instance, to Plan B.

"But what we do need to do is take particular precautions against Omicron until we've worked out exactly what kind of a threat it may present."

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