Monday morning UK news briefing: Omicron schools 'chaos'

·6-min read
Arwen Channel Migrants omicron covid
Arwen Channel Migrants omicron covid

History risks repeating itself on disruption in schools. That is the warning from MPs, as they say the omicron variant will lead to "chaos" and children likely to be forced into self isolation by new rules.

In an attempt to prevent the spread of the mutant strain of Covid, close contacts of those who test positive for omicron will have to self-isolate for 10 days - with the Government confirming that this also applies to children.

As Education Editor Camilla Turner reports, ministers were warned the move risks a repeat of the situation during the summer term when thousands of healthy children were told to stay at home.

Parents have called for children to be exempt from the new self-isolation rules.

In response to omicron - which it is feared could evade vaccines - the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is on course to approve booster jabs for all adults within days, opening up the programme to 13 million 18 to 39-year-olds.

The committee is also likely to reduce the gap between second jabs and boosters, in order to speed up the pace of the rollout, and to back second doses for 12 to 15-year-olds.

Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, said that families should keep planning for Christmas as normal and that the country was "nowhere near" adopting tougher lockdown restrictions. In other Covid news:

Charles to witness birth of Barbados as republic

The Prince of Wales is to "reaffirm" the "admiration and affection" between Barbados and Britain as he visits the Caribbean island to watch it become a republic. Prince Charles will tell the people of Barbados it is "important" to him to join them for a ceremony to replace the Queen as Head of State. In a speech to be delivered at the ceremony tonight, the Prince will emphasise the "myriad connections" between the two countries, and their common goals as members of the Commonwealth. Royal Correspondent Hannah Furness reports from Bridgetown as the Prince touched down on the island this morning. Meanwhile, a BBC documentary is to resuscitate allegations the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not receive enough support while in the Royal family.

Drinkers snowed in at a pub for three nights

They must have thought they had died and gone to heaven. For three nights, drinkers at the Tan Hill Inn, Britain's highest pub, have been trapped inside with food, drink - and an Oasis tribute band. The pub's manager said the 60-odd guests and staff had become one "big happy family" after being cut off by huge snow drifts since Friday evening. Chief Reporter Robert Mendick learns how they survived Storm Arwen.

Daily dose of Matt

View Matt's latest cartoon from the weekend in which he images the unintended consequence of Christmas lights switch-ons.

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Iran nuclear threat | The UK and Israel's foreign ministers today declare they will work "night and day" to stop Iran getting a nuclear weapon as they sign a "historic" 10-year plan for deepening ties. Under the agreement, which will be signed today, the countries will work more closely on cyber security, technology development, defence, trade and science. Read a joint article for The Telegraph by Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, and Yair Lapid, the Israeli foreign affairs minister.

Around the world: 'Unelectable' Harris could be moved

Democrats desperately scrambling to find a potential successor to Joe Biden in 2024 are whispering about a potential nuclear option, which could see vice-president Kamala Harris nominated to the Supreme Court. While the scenario is highly improbable, and perhaps a reflection of a Washington rumour mill in overdrive, the fact it has come up at all shows the depths of the predicament the Biden administration finds itself in. Rozina Sabur reports on the discussions behind the scenes.

Kamala Harris visited a Christmas market in Washington DC over the weekend. CREDIT: AFP - AFP
Kamala Harris visited a Christmas market in Washington DC over the weekend. CREDIT: AFP - AFP

Comment and analysis

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Sport briefing: Ronaldo out in the cold

Michael Carrick insisted that incoming Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick was not behind the decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo for the 1-1 draw against Chelsea. Read Chief Football Correspondent Jason Burt's match report from Stamford Bridge. In cricket, Ashley Giles, the England managing director, increased pressure on the BBC over its axing of Michael Vaughan by hinting it risked encouraging cancel culture in the sport. And Oliver Brown pays tribute to the late Sir Frank Williams, who revolutionised Formula One.

Business briefing: European financiers demand access

The eurozone's most powerful banking groups have demanded long-term access to London's multitrillion-dollar derivatives trading market in a fresh blow for Brussels' plans to seize business from the City. In a joint letter, finance trade bodies said the bloc faced a "cliff edge" unless it extended exemptions that allow trades by EU institutions to take place in the UK. It comes as Europe's financial centres have given up hope of triggering an exodus of companies away from London after Brexit.

Tonight's dinner

Chicken, cauliflower and Gruyère cobbler | Creamy, cheesy and satisfying, Diana Henry recommends making this dish on cold winter nights. View the recipe. For more, try our Cookbook newsletter.

Your daily travel inspiration

A capital break | Twinkling lights, fabulous shops, stunning shows - there is much to love about London at this time of year. From Holborn to Knightsbridge, here are four luxurious hotels for Christmas in London.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

Victorian polymath's second job | Sir Edwin Arnold's 5,300-line epic about the Buddha became an unlikely million-copy bestseller - and he wrote it while running a newspaper. Mick Brown explains how The Telegraph's editor in 1874 inspired Gandhi.

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