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Christmas is on: No tougher Covid measures before Xmas amid Omicron surge, Boris Johnson says

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Boris Johnson on Tuesday ruled out any new Covid restriction before Christmas.

The Prime Minister said the data on the Omicron variant was not yet clear enough to justify imposing new measures.

In a recorded message to the nation, he said: “I wanted to update you quickly on the latest Covid situation.

“There is no doubt that Omicron continues to surge with a speed unlike anything we’ve seen before.

“The situation remains extremely difficult but I also recognise that people have been waiting to hear whether their Christmas plans are going to be affected.

“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.”

His words came around an hour after the latest figures showed 90,629 Covid cases in the UK, including 20,491 in London - a figure which will raise hopes that the Omicron surge in the capital is slowing.

However, hospital admissions of coronavirus patients in London jumped to 245, on Sunday, up from 210 the day before, and there were 1,904 Covid patients in the city’s hospitals on Tuesday, with 201 so ill that they are on ventilators.

Mr Johnson stressed: “We continue to monitor Omicron very closely and if the situation deteriorates we will be ready to take action if needed.

“What this means is that people can go ahead with their Christmas plans but the situation remains finely balanced and I would urge everyone to exercise caution, to keep protecting yourselves and your loved ones, especially the vulnerable.

“And remember to keep following the guidance - wear a mask indoors when required to do so, keep fresh air circulating, and take a test before you visit elderly or vulnerable relatives.”

He also urged people to get boosted to increase their protection against Omicron and reduce the likelihood that they will spread it.

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