Scientists have modelled the impact of introducing further rules on 28 desember
Boris Johnson ruled out bringing in any restrictions over the Christmas period and now Tory Parlamentsmedlemmer are reportedly warning cabinet ministers that they must oppose further Covid measures if they want to gain support in any upcoming leadership fight.
Mr Johnson faces a crunch decision on Monday after a meeting with Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance on the latest Covid figures. He will have to decide whether additional measures are needed to stop a predicted rise in coronavirus hospital admissions.
Government scientific advisers have modelled the impact of implementing “Step 2” measures this week – those restrictions would see an end to indoor gatherings, a return to the rule of six outdoors, and pubs and restaurants would only be open for outdoor service.
“Step 2” restrictions were in place in England in April this year. Scientists have modelled the impact of introducing the rules again from Tuesday 28 December or New Years’ Day until 15 januar, 28 January or 28 mars.
Under these measures, people would not be able to socialise with anyone indoors except for their household support bubble. There will be no change to retail shops, with hairdressers and nail salons still allowed to operate.
Gyms and indoor leisure facilities will also still be open, however indoor entertainment venues – such as theatres or cinemas – would have to close.
Under “Step 2”, funerals will only be allowed to go ahead with up to 30 mourners and the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events will be set at 15.
Government advisers from Warwick University have argued for “Step 2” measures to be reintroduced, saying that they would cut the prospective peak of hospital pressure by about half.
The modelling concluded that people’s behavioural changes to avoid spreading the infection would result in “only a very small reduction in severe outcomes compared to plan B alone”.
“Step 2 has a much larger effect,"Sa de.
Despite this, SAGE has admitted that there is an “apparent slowing of growth rates” of infection.
Minutes of the group’s meeting on 23 December however noted that “the earlier interventions happen, and the more stringent they are, the more likely they are to be effective.”
Some MPs have argued that the data shows that Omicron is less severe than the Delta variant and so the pressure on the health service will be less.
“Evidence is showing there is no need for further restrictions”, said Conservative MP Richard Drax. “Time to trust people to get on with their own lives and for the state to back right off”.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, has also echoed this sentiment. He urged the government not to close churches as part of any new restrictions, ordtak: “People can make good judgements themselves.”