COVID-19: Christmas will be lockdown-free despite rising coronavirus cases, prime minister says

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There is "no evidence" to suggest that England would be forced into a Christmas lockdown, according to the prime minister.

Boris Johnson said that, despite rising COVID-19 cases, he has seen no evidence to indicate a Christmas lockdown is "on the cards".

Speaking to reporters during his trip to Rome for the G20 summit, Mr Johnson once again insisted ministers are sticking with the current plan to tackle coronavirus and there is no reason to activate the government's Plan B.

Asked if he could guarantee a good Christmas, he said: "I see no evidence whatever to think that any kind of lockdown is on the cards."

His comments come after the NHS Confederation, the British Medical Association and scientists called on the government to take steps to ease the growing pressure on the health service.

COVID-19 infections have risen across the UK, with recent Office for National Statistics estimates showing the same proportion of people in England have the virus as at the peak of the second wave in January.

However, hospitalisations and deaths remain well below the levels seen earlier this year - in part due to the vaccine rollout which has seen 45.7 million people fully vaccinated.

Moving to Plan B in England could mean a return to working from home and mandatory face masks, as well as the introduction of vaccine passports.

The prime minister said the government is monitoring cases but there was no need to act at this stage.

"We're watching the numbers every day. Yes, it's true that cases are high. But they do not currently constitute any reason to go to Plan B," Mr Johnson said.

"I think it's agreed among absolutely everybody, apart from possibly the Labour Party, so we're sticking with the plan. And I think rather than thinking new restrictions the best thing everybody can do is get that booster jab as soon as you're offered it.

"It's a very important message. I think people don't quite realise that the first two jabs do start to wane. So people who are double vaccinated can experience a waning effect in their immunity.

"How sad, how tragic, it would be if people who had other complications, other compromises in their health got seriously ill because they were overconfident about their level of immunity and didn't get their booster when they needed it.

"So please, please, please can everybody get their boosters."

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