Boris Johnson is expected to hold a meeting today to discuss further restrictions and a potential lockdown in response to Omicron.
Ministers will meet with the Prime Minister along with Chris Whitty, who will be joining virtually and Sir Patrick Vallance.
They will consider the latest data, including hospitalisations, to determine what changes need to be brought in.
READ MORE: New Covid figures show 1 in 10 Londoners had virus last week as Omicron variant rips through city
Although Boris announced that there would be no new restrictions over Christmas, the meeting today is expected to bring about some changes.
Many scientists have been calling for a circuit breaker saying it was needed before Christmas.
However, data released by UKHSA indicated that Omicron is milder but high infection numbers do remain a concern.
As the PM faces a rebellion from backbench MPs over more restrictions, here are the four potential options he is likely to be considering.
A return to ‘Step 2’ restrictions, similar to what was in place in April in England, is being considered.
This would mean a ban on mixing indoors with hospitality only being allowed to operate outside.
According to The Mirror, experts from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, Operational sub-group (Spi-M-O) based their study on introducing the measures on December 28 or New Year’s Day and keeping them in place until January 15, 28 or March 28.
They found that “rapidly enacted Step 2 measures reduce the peak of hospital pressure to about half its level under Plan B only”.
Circuit breaker lockdown
A circuit breaker lockdown would see an introduction of full lockdown, for a short period of time.
It’s understood that December 28 would be the earliest possible start date for this option.
However, Sir Keir Starmer said the number of people being admitted to hospital were “different” to when he called for circuit-breaker in Autumn 2020 and is not supporting this option.
Sage experts have warned that there is likely to be a wave of hospital admissions causing many to speculate whether the PM will introduce Plan C.
This would mean only table service, to avoid crowding at the bar as well as NHS Covid Passes needed to enter venues.
Schools would be closed, however it’s understood that the government’s main priority is to keep schools open.
The final option seems very unlikely given the continued vaccine and booster rollout and a drop in hospital admissions.
A rebellion from backbench Tory MPs when Plan B was introduced makes the introduction of a full lockdown even less likely.
However, Boris Johnson has refused to rule this option out when probed by journalists.
Speaking last week, he said: “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.”
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