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- Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2019
During a tour of a vaccine centre on Wednesday, the prime minister said doctors had passed him the data about who had been hospitalised with the virus recently.
The prime minister said: “If you’re not vaccinated, you’re eight times more likely to get into hospital altogether.”
He continued: “The Omicron variant continues to cause real problems. You are seeing cases rising in hospitals.
“But it is obviously milder than the Delta variant and we are able to proceed in the way that we are.”
He claimed it was clear that the boosters are having an impact on reducing the severity of infection, before touching on his controversial decision not to announce any new restrictions ahead of New Year’s Eve.
“I think everybody should enjoy New Year but in a cautious and sensible way,” Johnson said.
While restrictions have been tightened in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, England remains under ‘Plan B’ measures. This includes mandatory face masks in some settings, the use of Covid passes for indoor venues and working from home guidance – but no caps on indoor or outdoor gatherings.
Instead, Johnson urged the public, “take a test, ventilation, think about others – but, above all, get a booster,” in preparation of the annual celebrations on December 31.
The prime minister has been championing the renewed booster drive since the highly transmissible Omicron variant was first identified in November.
He even clashed with some NHS chiefs after he said he wanted every eligible adult to receive a jab by the end of the year – meaning the health service would have to vaccinate around one million people per day.
Johnson said on Wednesday that 2.4 million eligible double-jabbed people have still not taken up the offer a booster vaccine.
The UK also recorded a record number of Covid infections on Tuesday, with 129,471 people testing positive. This data does not include the figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland, due to a difference in reporting practices during the festive season.
However as the Omicron variant supposedly carrying a lower risk of hospitalisation and there is always a lag between infection and hospital admissions, the government has said it is waiting for further data before implementing further restrictions.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.