Omicron: SAGE warning calls for policy decisions 'sooner'
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Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Officer Sir Patrick Vallance will brief the Prime Minister about changes to the number of people being hospitalised by the contagious variant. Experts fear any sharp increase could pile enormous pressure on the already stretched NHS.
The showdown comes at a time when studies suggest Omicron is significantly milder in severity than other strains, with the risk of hospitalisation between 50 and 70 percent lower than with the Delta strain.
Public health officials are urging people to get booster shots to minimise their risks of catching Omicron.
Millions of Britons were today sent text messages urging them to get jabbed.
Coronavirus vaccination teams could go door-to-door to reach those yet to have their jabs, reports have suggested, in a bid to stave off further restrictions.
A trial which had been carried out in Ipswich, Suffolk, could be expanded across the whole country as the Government attempted to hold out against introducing new restrictions in England, the Mail on Sunday has claimed.
New Covid measures came into force in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Boxing Day – but politicians in England are unlikely to discuss further measures until Monday, with suggestions a voluntary reduction in social contacts before Christmas could convince Boris Johnson to rely on guidance rather than new rules.
(More to follow)
No 10 apparently sees reaching those who had not yet had their vaccinations as a key way of staving off new restrictions.
A month-long campaign was launched at the end of November in the Westgate area of Ipswich, which had a low vaccine uptake rate.
Public health teams went door-to-door addressing worries and offering transport to vaccination centres.
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