today gave the green light for people to celebrate on New Year’s Eve but urged the nation to be ‘cautious and sensible’.
The Prime Minister said he believes ‘everybody should enjoy New Year’ despite the spread of the variant.
He said the strain ‘continues to cause real problems’, with hospitalisations rising, but the data shows it is ‘obviously milder than the Delta variant’.
Mr Johnson said the booster jab rollout means England does not currently need new restrictions, despite Scotland, Wales and all imposing new rules on socialising.
The premier today repeated his plea to the nation to get boosted as he warned that 90 per cent of Covid patients in intensive care units across the country had not received the top-up dose.
Mr Johnson has faced criticism after failing to make a public appearance in recent days despite the coronavirus crisis.
He was grilled on the subject this morning as he was asked where he had been ‘for the last 10 days’.A flustered PM replied: ‘I have been in this country.’
The comments came as hospitality chiefs suggested as many as 100,000 Scottish and Welsh revellers could cross into England to enjoy ‘normal’ New Year’s Eve celebrations without restrictions.
Rules prohibiting large social events in neighbouring nations are expected to prompt a flood of people crossing into England on December 31, with the Scottish government having admitted it is powerless to stop Scots who want to make the trip.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney today urged Scots not to travel to England to celebrate but Work and Pensions Minister Chloe Smith risked a row as she said ‘we are one country and people are more than free to move around inside our country under the general law’.
Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford are facing a growing backlash over new Covid curbs in Scotland and Wales.
Ms Sturgeon will deliver a Covid update this afternoon after record case numbers were recorded in Scotland over the festive period, with a pandemic-high of 11,030 on Boxing Day.
It remains unclear whether Ms Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, is planning to introduce further restrictions, stick with the ones she has already announced, or remove some of the existing curbs.
Social media has been flooded with people saying they are planning to head to England on Friday to bring in the New Year in the face of stringent restrictions on clubs, pubs and bars in their own nations.
Furious Tory MPs and hospitality bosses in Scotland and Wales yesterday demanded Ms Sturgeon and Mr Drakeford publish figures justifying their Covid crackdowns.
It came as UK ministers said they have no plans to cut the Covid self-isolation period to just five days despite fears crippling staff shortages will threaten the and other vital parts of the economy.
Scientists, MPs and business leaders have all lined up to urge Mr Johnson to follow the example of the US by once again reducing the time people have to spend in quarantine.
The Government has now said there are ‘no further changes’ planned but insisted the rules would be kept ‘under review’.Ms Smith argued the current seven-day isolation period is the ‘right’ length of time.
Meanwhile, pharmacists have called for urgent action to improve the supply of lateral flow tests as they said they are being forced to turn people away empty-handed while home delivery kits are unavailable for the third day in a row.
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