Omicron covid latest – 1,000s of Brits have Christmas RUINED as any positive test from today means isolating on Xmas day

Omicron covid latest – 1,000s of Brits have Christmas RUINED as any positive test from today means isolating on Xmas day

12/15/2021

THOUSANDS of Brits have had Christmas completely ruined as a positive covid test from today means isolating on the big day.

The rules state anybody testing positive for covid must isolate for 10 full days – meaning yesterday was the last day somebody could get covid and be free to see friends and family on Christmas Day.

Those testing positive today won't be out of isolation until Boxing Day.

Today The Times reported that the Omicron covid variant is so prolific that an estimated one million Brits – that's approximately one in 70 – will be in isolation on Christmas Day, missing out on visits from friends and family for a second year.

Read our Covid-19 live blog for the latest news and updates…

  • John Hall

    NHS England moves to highest alert level

    The decision to move from level 3 to level 4 was made on Sunday after health chiefs indicated that there was substantial pressure on the NHS.

    The alert was raised to level four meaning that there is a real threat that the rise in infections could force the closure of other vital health services.

    “The emergence of Omicron adds additional and rapidly increasing risk to the public and healthcare services," NHS England said.

    "Early evidence shows that Omicron is spreading much faster than Delta and that vaccine protection against symptomatic disease from Omicron is reduced.”

    Level 4 is defined by the Government as coronavirus being "in general circulation; transmission is high and direct Covid-19 pressure on healthcare services is widespread and substantial or rising".

    In May the alert level was moved down from 4 to 3.

  • John Hall

    80 Tory MPs to vote against Boris Johnson

    Tory MPs will vote against Boris Johnson tonight in a brutal rebellion over vaccine passports.

    But No10 has vowed to push ahead with the measure despite the PM’s majority being wiped out.

    It comes amid dire warnings of an even bigger backlash if there was any attempt to introduce more harsh Plan C restrictions.

    Covid certification rules for nightclubs, mega-bars and stadiums are expected to pass through the Commons with the backing of Labour MPs.

    And the PM sparked further Tory jitters last night by refusing to rule out further restrictions before Christmas.

  • Louis Allwood

    Omicron map shows earliest hotspots as cases spread rapidly

    A map reveals some of the earliest places hit with the Omicron variant, which is now spreading rapidly in the UK.

    Hotspots have emerged, focused mostly in the South East and London.

    The genetic research centre tracks Covid variants and details where they are most prevalent with a lag of around two weeks.

    Its latest map, using data to December 4, reveals South Northamptonshire was reporting 26 Omicron cases a week, with surrounding areas also hotspots.

    But Lewisham is the second most affected area, with 10 cases a week. 

    Other London boroughs with higher cases include Newham and Barking and Dagenham.

  • Louis Allwood

    Furlough could RETURN

    If further restrictions are imposed to tackle Omicron then Furlough could be re-introduced, insiders claim.

    Ministers are being urged to guarantee support for staff and employers in case their businesses have to shut.

    The Sun today reveals secret plans for pubs and restaurants to shut in the coming weeks if the mutant strain brings hospitals to their knees.

    It has sparked jitters that millions could find themselves out of work unless Rishi Sunak once again conjures up financial help.

    Downing Street last month ruled out once again bankrolling people's wages at enormous expense.

    But a Treasury source has now told The Times: "That could mean a return to the furlough scheme but depending on what, if any, further restrictions are necessary there might be other ways of providing that support."

  • Louis Allwood

    New Year’s Eve parties under threat

    NEW Year's Eve parties are in "grave doubt" as killjoy Whitehall officials are drawing up further plans to tackle the Omicron variant.

    There are growing fears of further restrictions being slapped on Brits after Christmas as the infection rate is expected to peak in January.

    The Sun has learnt Whitehall officials have drawn up plans to restrict numbers in pubs and restaurants and even close them down in the coming weeks.

    A government source told The Sun: “You will be able to see your family at Christmas, but at this rate you might not be able to do it in a pub.

    "As for New Year’s Eve, that is a different story.”

    But MPs privately warn they will torpedo any attempts to bring in former restrictions like the Rule of Six or a ban on household mixing.

    It comes as more than one in five Tory MPs will vote against Boris Johnson on Tuesday as a brutal rebellion on vaccine passports hit 80.

    No10 vowed to crack on with the vote despite the PM’s majority being wiped out – amid dire warnings of a bigger backlash at any attempt at "Plan C" restrictions.

  • Louis Allwood

    New unusual Omicron symptom

    AN unusual Omicron symptom to watch out for has been revealed, as common signs emerge in the Covid strain's spread around the world.

    The way the mutant variant appears to be presenting in positive cases is quite different to the original strain.

    Around five symptoms seem to be popping up again and again in infected people, suggesting they are the ones to look out for.

    As with many of the variants, the symptoms have moved outside the trio listed on the NHS website of fever, cough and loss of taste or smell.

    One unusual one to spot is night sweats – which is when you wake up with sheets, pyjamas and your hair soaked with sweat.

    A GP in South Africa told the Department of Health it's starting to become a telltale sign in the country.

    Many patients who test positive for Omicron say they experienced night sweats.

  • Louis Allwood

    Deputy PM Dominic Raab left red-faced after interview

    Dominic Raab today claimed 250 Brits are in hospital with Omicron – before correcting himself and admitting the real number is 10.

    The red-faced deputy PM was forced to backtrack in the space of just a few minutes after his hugely overinflated figure was called out.

    But even then he didn't get it right, and only on a third attempt finally clarified there are actually 10 people hospitalised by the new variant.

    Mr Raab was sent out onto the airwaves to plug the Government's booster programme and defend the new restrictions to battle Omicron.

    Asked on Sky News how many people were in hospital in England with the strain, he replied that it was "250 the last time I looked".

  • Louis Allwood

    Dozens of schools already SHUT for Christmas

    Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), has said schools across the country are seeing "very severe low attendance" as the Omicron variant spreads.

    It comes as Downing Street last night insisted that keeping schools open was a "national priority" and they should be the last to shut.

    But as cases soar across the country several schools have had no option but to close their doors.

    Mr Barton told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "Listening to the speculation and the news, and certainly the emails I've been getting from members, you are getting some pockets of very severe low attendance, partly young people, partly staff.

    "One (school) has emailed me this morning saying 25% of staff have been off for three weeks, you can imagine if you can't then get supply teachers that becomes very difficult to maintain the quality of education.

    He added: “These decisions are not being made by a headteacher.

    “It’s not someone saying ‘we're going to close the school because Christmas can come early’ – this was public health advice.

  • Louis Allwood

    Pubs and restaurants could be CLOSED

    Whitehall officials have drawn up plans to restrict numbers in pubs and restaurants and even close them down in the coming weeks.

    There are growing fears of further restrictions after Christmas as Omicron is expected to peak in January, with New Year parties in grave doubt.

    A government source said: “You will be able to see your family at Christmas, but at this rate, you might not be able to do it in a pub.

    "As for New Year’s Eve, that is a different story.”

    But MPs privately warn they will torpedo any attempts to bring in former restrictions like the Rule of Six or a ban on household mixing.

  • Louis Allwood

    Needle-FREE Covid vaccine

    The alternate vaccine, being developed by the University of Southampton, uses jets of air to push the dose through the skin rather than a needle.

    According to the scientists behind the vaccine, it would also fight future coronaviruses.

    Saul Faust, clinical chief investigator and director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility, said: "This isn't simply 'yet another' coronavirus vaccine as it has both Covid-19 variants and future coronaviruses in its sights.

    "This technology could give wide-ranging protection to huge numbers of people worldwide."

    While most existing Covid vaccines use the sequence of the RNA for the spike protein from the first samples of the virus found in January 2020, the DIOSvax technology used for the new jab aims to predict how the virus could mutate, allowing it to target emerging variants.

  • Louis Allwood

    NHS England moves to highest alert level

    The decision to move from level 3 to level 4 was made on Sunday after health chiefs indicated that there was substantial pressure on the NHS.

    The alert was raised to level four meaning that there is a real threat that the rise in infections could force the closure of other vital health services.

    “The emergence of Omicron adds additional and rapidly increasing risk to the public and healthcare services," NHS England said.

    "Early evidence shows that Omicron is spreading much faster than Delta and that vaccine protection against symptomatic disease from Omicron is reduced.”

    Level 4 is defined by the Government as coronavirus being "in general circulation; transmission is high and direct Covid-19 pressure on healthcare services is widespread and substantial or rising".

    In May the alert level was moved down from 4 to 3.

  • Louis Allwood

    80 Tory MPs to vote against Boris Johnson

    Tory MPs will vote against Boris Johnson tonight in a brutal rebellion over vaccine passports.

    But No10 has vowed to push ahead with the measure despite the PM’s majority being wiped out.

    It comes amid dire warnings of an even bigger backlash if there was any attempt to introduce more harsh Plan C restrictions.

    Covid certification rules for nightclubs, mega-bars and stadiums are expected to pass through the Commons with the backing of Labour MPs.

    And the PM sparked further Tory jitters last night by refusing to rule out further restrictions before Christmas.

  • Louis Allwood

    Help us win the race for our lives (Continued…)

    This is a comment piece by Boris Johnson

    The single best way to protect ourselves, our families and our NHS this ­winter is for every one of us to get a booster before that wave breaks — which is why we’re offering all eligible adults a jab before the end of the year.

    We are in, quite literally, the race of our lives.

    And it’s a race you can help us win.

  • Louis Allwood

    Help us win the race for our lives

    This is a comment piece by Boris Johnson

    FROM tomorrow, every ­eligible adult in the UK will be able to book a booster jab as part of our nationwide Emergency Omicron Boost.

    And if you haven’t already been boosted, it’s so important that you do it as soon as you possibly can.

    The number of people infected with the Omicron variant is doubling every two to three days.

    Even with the “Plan B” measures being introduced this week there is an unstoppable wave of cases racing over the horizon towards us.

    And we know from new evidence last week that two jabs is not enough to give us the protection we need against Omicron.

  • Louis Allwood

    ‘I’m proud to support Jabs Army’ (Continued…)

    Camilla ­— who is president of our Jabs Army partner, the Royal Voluntary Service ­— told The Sun: “Thanks to the combined efforts of so many, our country was the first in the world to begin vaccinating its people.

    “Now we are faced with this new variant, I know that, once again, the wonderful Royal Voluntary Service and the Jabs Army will pull together so that we are all protected through the booster jab.

    "You make us proud — and give us hope for brighter days ahead.”

  • Louis Allwood

    'I’m proud to support Jabs Army'

    The Duchess of Cornwall and Boris Johnson encouraged our drive to recruit 30,000 volunteers — amid fears the country may already be seeing 200,000 infections a day as the Omicron mutation grows.

    The Sun is recruiting 30,000 to help turbocharge the national mission to drive down the Covid variant and save Christmas.

    The renewed drive comes after Britain suffered its first Omicron death yesterday and No10 said vaccination centres will be open at later hours — and even jab people on Christmas Day — in an all-out bid to beat the virus.

  • Louis Allwood

    No guarantee all schools will open in January

    Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi suggested kids may have to learn from home again in the future as part of the battle against the Omicron mutation.

    Asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr if he could make the promise that schools won’t close, he said: “We are absolutely working to make sure that all schools are open, that they’re protected.

    “I will do everything in my power.

    “We are still learning about this variant.

    “We know that a booster works.

    “Get boosted, protect yourself, protect your community and let’s get through this and transition this from pandemic to endemic.”

    The news will likely cause alarm for parents after last year’s back-to-school debacle, where schools were shut just one day after reopening following the Christmas break.

  • Louis Allwood

    MPs on standby for vote

    MPS have allegedly been warned to be “on standby” to vote on new restrictions during Christmas week as Omicron continues to grip the nation.

    Plan C may be enacted before Christmas as MPs have been told to prepare for a Parliament recall on December 21 if the Covid situation spirals, it’s been reported.

    This means indoor mask-wearing and table service in pubs and bars may be back before the festive season.

    And according to sources, a Plan D is already being considered – which would force punters to dine outdoors again.

  • Louis Allwood

    Military to be drafted in to help deliver boosters

    Military personnel are to be drafted in to help the NHS get Covid-19 booster jabs into arms.

    The Ministry of Defence said that about 750 servicemen and women will help deliver jabs and co-ordinate the rollout in England and Scotland.

    Some 600 personnel from across the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force have been made available to NHS England, delivering jabs in small teams across the country, and another 51 will help with planning, while more than 100 are assisting in Scotland, the Ministry of Defence said.

    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "We have rapidly mobilised service personnel to work alongside our dedicated health services to accelerate the vaccine booster programme.

    "Our armed forces will help to get vaccines into arms as quickly as possible as we continue our efforts to support the UK's response to the pandemic."

    It comes as St John Ambulance made an urgent appeal for volunteers to help the vaccination effort.

    The charity's head of community response, Adam Williams, said: "St John Ambulance recruited and trained almost 30,000 vaccination volunteers – including 20,000 vaccinators – between November and March.

    "If everyone who trained to vaccinate with St John steps forward now, even for just two six-hour shifts, we will have more than enough people to do everything that's required of us over the next few weeks and help the nation get ahead of the Omicron variant."

  • Louis Allwood

    Up to £10k fine for Covid passport counterfeiters

    People who fake Covid passes could be hit with a £10,000 fine under laws on access to nightclubs and other venues in England coming into force this week.

    The new criminal offence is contained in laws published on Monday which could also see businesses shut down by councils if they fail to comply with the rules or show they are carrying out suitable checks on customers attending events.

    The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Entry to Venues and Events) (England) Regulations 2021 make it an offence to make, adapt, supply or offer to supply "false evidence of Covid status to another person" which is known to be "false or misleading" as of 6am on Wednesday.

    Venues which do not comply with rules on carrying out checks or ignore improvement or closure notices issued by councils could be fined £1,000 in the first instance, reduced to £500 if paid within 14 days.

    This increases £2,000 and £4,000 for second and third offences and jumping to £10,000 for fourth or any subsequent offences thereafter.

    A 24-page document setting out the regulations, which expire on January 26, said they impose "obligations on those responsible for organising certain events, or managing certain venues to take reasonable measures to ensure that they do not admit any person to such events, or venues unless the person concerned has been fully vaccinated or has tested negative for coronavirus within the last 48 hours, is participating (or has participated) in a clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine or, for clinical reasons, should not be vaccinated with a coronavirus vaccine."

  • Louis Allwood

    NHS told to prepare (continued…)

    Temporary buildings including portacabins and tents are "ready to be dispatched to extend existing sites and support with queues", it added.

    But the letter warns: "Even with the additional protection that vaccine boosters will give, the threat from Omicron remains serious."

    It adds that the number of people requiring care could be "significant over the coming period" as it set out steps for the NHS to prepare for a fresh wave of cases.

    This includes discharging medically fit patients to hotels and ramping up the use of private hospitals.

    Pressures in the social care system mean that many patients can usually be left in hospital while social care packages are arranged.

    But the NHS has ordered hospitals to free up as many beds as possible, which could include discharging fit patients to hotels to wait for social care support to be put in place.

  • Louis Allwood

    NHS told to prepare for 'significant threat' of Omicron

    The NHS can run 24/7 vaccine clinics and discharge some patients to hotels under plans set out by health leaders.

    The health service has been put on its highest level of emergency preparedness as it sets itself to tackle the "new and significant" threat posed by the Omicron variant.

    The health service in England declared a "Level 4 National Incident", which means that trusts will not have autonomy to guide the response in their local areas and central NHS will lead the charge.

    Health leaders said that the emergence of the variant requires an "extraordinary response" from the NHS.

    A new letter from health bosses states that the NHS will deliver "more vaccines over the coming weeks than ever before" which might include 24/7 vaccine clinics "where relevant for the local community".

    Vaccine sites should operate 12 hours a day "as standard" seven days a week, while some GP appointments will need to be postponed as the NHS prioritises the vaccination programme.

    NHS England said pop-up sites could include trucks and buses in parks, cathedrals, football stadiums and leisure centres.

  • Louis Allwood

    NHS England chief exec warns of Omicron threat

    A letter, penned by NHS England's chief executive Amanda Pritchard and national medical director Professor Stephen Powis, says: "The past two years have arguably been the most challenging in the history of the NHS, but staff across the NHS have stepped up time and time again to do the very best for the nation – expanding and flexing services to meet the changing demands of the pandemic; introducing new treatments, new services and new pathways to respond to the needs of patients with Covid-19 and those without; pulling out all the stops to recover services that have been disrupted, whilst rolling out the largest and fastest vaccination programme in our history.

    "The Omicron variant presents a new and significant threat, and the NHS must once again rise to the national mission to protect as many people as possible through the vaccination programme whilst also now taking steps to prepare for and respond to this threat."

    Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid told the House of Commons on Monday afternoon: "NHS England has just announced it will return to its highest level of emergency preparedness: Level 4 National Incident.

    "This means the NHS response to Omicron will be a coordinated as a national effort, rather than led by individual trusts."

  • Louis Allwood

    Boosters 'can offer 75% protection against mild cases of Omicron'

    New data last week revealed boosters offer up to 75 per cent protection from mild infection from Omicron.

    UKHSA figures showed immunity from two doses of AstraZeneca was close to zero after six months, but a third dose with Pfizer saw protection from the super-strain rocket as high as 70 per cent.

    And in new findings released this weekend from Sage, the group that advises the Government, it is estimated two Covid jabs should still work to slash the risk of dying from Omicron by up to 84 per cent.

  • Louis Allwood

    Red list ditched today

    Red list will be ditched and all 11 nations taken off it from this morning – with hotel quarantine scrapped.

    But testing for all arrivals into Britain will stay until at least January, pushing up the price of Christmas for millions of people hoping to see friends and family.

    Scrapping the hated red list will mean Brits no longer have to pay £2,285 to quarantine in hotels this winter when they come back from countries with high cases of the omicron variant.

    Quarantines will be replaced with testing for the fully vaccinated instead.

    Those who are not double jabbed will be ordered to stay inside their homes, however.

    It comes just a fortnight after 11 African nations were slapped on the list after the emergence of Omicron.

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