Boris Johnson is expected to avoid introducing new Covid restrictions as he makes a decision on whether to bring in fresh lockdown measures today, it's been reported.
The Prime Minister is due to be given the latest Covid data on Monday as he weighs up whether to enforce new restrictions on the country to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.
New measures have already been seen in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but ministers have so far stayed clear of dictating new rules in England, the Mirror reports.
They instead hope people will self-police their own behaviour and cut down on social contact where possible.
Mr Johnson is expected to be briefed by Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty, who is reportedly likely to receive a knighthood for his pandemic efforts – as well as Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
If the data looks positive, the PM could decide to stick to the lighter level measures introduced under Plan B, it has been reported.
But if cases were beginning to put pressure on the NHS, the PM might feel the need to intervene with stronger restrictions.
Sources told the Guardian that the prime minister would “take stock” after being encouraged by improving data on Friday which could be a sign that No 10 is leaning away from stricter curbs.
New Year’s Eve parties are set to be given a cautious green light – with advice to observe Covid safeguards, the Express reported.
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The Times reported that in whichever scenario, however, weddings and funerals would be exempt from any new rules.
It comes following the latest NHS figures which showed more than 10,000 patients waited 12 hours before being admitted to hospital in November, staggeringly up from 2,148 the same time last year.
On top of this, a record number of NHS trusts recorded patients had waited nearly 24 hours between arriving at hospital by ambulance and being assessed.
Labour's shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: "24 hours in A&E isn't just a TV show, it's now what patients are forced to go through under the Tories."
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: "Health leaders are responding to the pressures that increasing numbers of hospital admissions, and increasing levels of staff absence, are already placing on frontline services. Now is the time for the Government to be clear on what action it needs to take to get a grip on the situation."
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