Boris Johnson Christmas: When is the next Covid announcement? Date of Xmas update amid Plan B fears
The Prime Minister is set to update the public on whether new ‘Plan B’ Covid rules will need to come into force this Christmas.
Last week saw the reintroduction of restrictions like mandatory face masks in shops and on public transport and new rules around UK travel as cases of the Omicron variant rise.
There have now been more than 240 cases recorded in the UK and concerns are growing around how quickly the variant can spread.
Last year, Boris Johnson made a last minute change to Christmas restrictions, shortening the amount of time that loved ones could spend together over the festive season.
And there are now fears that new rules could be introduced and there could be changes to Christmas plans again this year, with the Prime Minister set to make an announcement anytime soon.
Here is everything we know so far.
When is the Prime Minister expected to make a Christmas announcement?
It has not yet been confirmed when exactly Boris Johnson will address the public, although it was originally expected to be sometime during the week beginning Monday, December 13.
It was understood that the most likely date for the Prime Minister to conduct his next review was December 17, so any updates would have come after this, but it has now been suggested that an update on the rules could come sooner than we thought – with some speculation that a press conference could even be held as early as the evening of Wednesday, December 8.
Will there be any new Covid rules for Christmas and New Year?
Up until today, the Government had ruled out introducing any new restrictions for the festive period and told people not to cancel their plans.
Downing Street also confirmed that ‘in-person events’ such as parties would be held in the lead up to the festive period, as the Prime Minister said he believed ‘Christmas should go ahead as normally as possible’.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told Sky News on Sunday, December 5: "The government wants people to enjoy Christmas this year", adding that employers should take a ‘common sense’ approach to office parties.
However, there are now fears that ‘Plan B’ Covid measures could be introduced imminently.
The Prime Minister could now make an announcement ‘in days’, it has been suggested, as tighter rules are considered.
This could mean making face masks mandatory in more locations, advising the public to work from home ‘wherever possible’ and bringing in vaccine passports for certain locations.
Sage member Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, also told the BBC that another lockdown ‘might be possible’ but this has not been confirmed by the Government.
What are the current Covid restrictions in the UK?
Concerns around the spread of the Omicron variant have led to the Government bringing in some new Covid rules in the last week.
As well as wearing face coverings in shops and public transport, anyone arriving in the UK will have to take a PCR test on day two of their arrival and isolate until they receive the results.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has also now announced the return of pre-departure coronavirus tests for all people arriving in the UK.
The latest rules came into force at 4am on Tuesday, December 7.
Anyone who has been in contact with someone who has the Omicron variant must also take a test and self isolate, even if they have received all their Covid vaccines.
According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the new rules are in response to scientists saying Omicron may have a "reduced incubation period", which means there could be a smaller window between someone catching the virus and becoming infectious than with previous variants.