Two-week circuit breaker ‘to be imposed within days’: Prime minister Boris Johnson has declared that Christmas can definitely go ahead “cautiously” – but new restrictions could be unveiled in as little as 48 hours, throwing new year’s party plans into jeopardy. A fortnight-long circuit-breaker lockdown may be imposed within days – even by Monday (27 December) – according to reports, which could restrict mass events, ban different households mixing indoors and hamper the hospitality sector by restricting pubs and restaurants to outdoor service only. Such a move would be similar to the “Step 2” restrictions of last winter’s roadmap out of lockdown and would almost certainly require Johnson to recall parliament, a process that would take around two days. The threshold for introducing stricter rules beyond Christmas Day is if the number of daily covid hospitalisations in London rises above 400, the i paper reports. If the figure remains below that, disruption is expected to be minimal. It came as another 90,629 covid cases were recorded in 24 hours across the UK, along with 172 deaths. A further 15,363 infections with the Omicron variant have been confirmed, bringing the total to 60,508 – although the pace of spread looks potentially slower than initially feared. Covid cases have remained flat since last Friday (17 December) when they hit a peak of more than 93,000. MPs who were briefed on the latest information by the government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer Chris Whitty said there was still no clarity on the data that would justify new curbs. A Cabinet source told the Mail: “There is more data coming on Wednesday (22 December), so that should make hopefully the picture a bit clearer and decisions easier to make.” A survey by Ipsos MORI revealed a majority of Britons are now taking matters into their own hands to reduce their chances of catching coronavirus, with 58% saying they have avoided public transport or plan to do so, and 57% saying the same about going to pubs and restaurants, and social gatherings with friends and family. (Information taken from propel)


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