Boris Johnson Says 'Further' Covid Rules Could Be Imposed Following Cabinet Meeting

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(Photo: WPA Pool via Getty Images)
(Photo: WPA Pool via Getty Images)

Boris Johnson has suggested “further action” will be taken soon to tackle the surge in Covid cases, but said there would be no immediate changes to the rules.

The prime minister held a long meeting of his cabinet this afternoon as ministers were updated on the latest data.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has advised “more stringent measures would need to be implemented very soon” if hospitals are to avoid being overwhelmed.

Earlier, Dominic Raab said he could not give any “hard, fast guarantees” that England would not be placed into lockdown this week.

But according to The Sun, ministers demanded more time to examine the latest Omicron data before agreeing to any changes.

Speaking to broadcasters on Monday afternoon following the cabinet summit, Johnson said: “We will have to reserve the possibility of taking further action to protect the public and protect public health and protect our NHS.

“We agreed the situation is extremely difficult, the arguments either way are very finely balanced, we have cases of Omicron surging across the country now. Hospitalisations rising quite steeply in London.”

Asked if stricter rules could be imposed soon, the prime minister said: “We won’t hesitate to take that action.

“We are looking at all kinds of things to keep Omicron under control and we will rule nothing out.”

However Johnson could struggle to get any new rules past his own party, with senior ministers and many MPs objecting to any further controls.

He has promised that parliament, which is in recess for Christmas, will be recalled to debate any new restrictions.

Last week Johnson suffered the biggest backbench rebellion of his premiership with 100 Tory MPs voting against rules requiring Covid passports for entry into nightclubs and other venues.

Any additional proposals could spark another revolt at a time when the prime minister is politically weakened by the ongoing row over parties in Downing Street last Christmas and the Tories’ crushing defeat in the North Shropshire by-election.

Keir Starmer said Labour would again support any additional public health measures that were required but that the PM needed to come forward with a clear plan to support businesses that were affected and to keep schools open.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.


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