Sage doom mongers want a MONTH-long circuit breaker lockdown banning household mixing over Christmas

Sage doom mongers want a MONTH-long circuit breaker lockdown banning household mixing over Christmas

12/19/2021

DOOM-MONGERING scientists want to see a month-long circuit breaker lockdown introduced immediately.

Scientific advisers are calling for socialising indoors to be banned before Christmas to combat the spiralling spread of Omicron.

Sage members told the government that waiting until after December 25 to impose Covid measures is not an option if ministers want to stop the NHS being overwhelmed.

They expect more than 3,000 hospitalisations a day come January, with daily infections and deaths on the rise.

The group held emergency talks on Thursday to discuss the pending crisis.

Minutes from the meeting, released on Saturday, revealed that indoor mixing is "the biggest risk factor" when it comes to viral transmission.

It also suggested "reducing group sizes, increasing physical distancing, reducing duration of contacts and closing high-risk premises" to curb the spread – despite the speedy rollout of the booster vaccines.

The Sun is urging readers to sign up to the Jabs Army campaign to make the booster rollout as smooth and fast as possible.

A third shot is the best protection against Omicron, with early data suggesting it pushes efficacy back up to 75 per cent.

Dr Jenny Harries, UK Health Security Agency chief executive, said: "Once again, we urge everyone who is able to get a booster jab to come forward and do so.

"It is the best defence we have against this highly transmissible new variant."

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If a two-week crackdown was introduced, it would mean millions of Brits would be forced into another miserable Christmas, reminiscent of last year's glum affair.

Many would have to spend the big day alone – but even if the restrictions didn't go as far as an outright ban on people from different households meeting up in doors, get-togethers would likely be limited.

Senior government scientific advisors are understood to regard a two-week 'circuit break' lockdown too short to make a real difference.

Instead, they are suggesting imposing restrictions until everyone has had a chance to get their booster jabs, plus an extra fortnight for immunity to build.

This would take the measures until at least the second half of January.

Sage's gloomy advice follows the Health Secretary's warning that Brits could be plunged into Christmas misery with yet more Covid rules.

Sajid Javid refused to rule out further restrictions next week, admitting there are "no guarantees" when it comes to a festive clampdown.

He told BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "At this point we just have to keep everything under review.

"We are assessing the situation, it's very fast-moving.

"That's the truth of the matter. The reality is there's a lot of uncertainty."

Boris Johnson insisted on Friday that "we are not closing things down" – but rumours of an abrupt Covid crackdown being planned for after Boxing Day are in stark contrast to his words.

Plans are said to be being drawn up in Whitehall amid warnings 50,000 NHS staff could be off sick with Omicron by Christmas.

A source said: “A set of proposals is being worked on that would let people celebrate Christmas, but then the handbrake would be pulled.”

DARK DAYS

Daily coronavirus cases have been increasing at an alarming rate over the past week after the UK hit a record high of 78,610 on December 15.

They have since risen further, with a total of 90,418 fresh infections reported in the 24 hours to December 18.

The number of Omicron cases has also soared, trebling in 24 hours.

The pace of the outbreak is moving at a speed never seen before, experts say.

It’s being driven by the Omicron Covid variant which is more transmissible than Delta and was only detected in the UK weeks ago – but it may have been spreading long before this.

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