Boris Johnson Expected To Announce Move To Plan B Covid-19 Restrictions Today
Government is set to announce a move to "Plan B" Covid-19 restrictions as early as today, including working from home and vaccine passports.
The move comes as SAGE data has shown the R rate of the Omicron variant to be higher than that of Delta.
It is understood the move to Plan B will be agreed in a Cabinet meeting this afternoon, followed by a press conference at 5.30pm where Boris Johnson is expected to announce the update.
Working from home measures are set to be recommended for non-key workers from tomorrow.
The Prime Minister is also expected to announce that vaccine certification checks will be introduced at large venues.
Whitehall sources told PoliticsHome that the focus today will be on domestic plans to tackle Omicron, with international strategies being announced later in the week.
Travel restrictions are not expected to change, with the current thinking in Whitehall being that international restrictions can no longer mitigate the virus.
A Whitehall source “categorically” denied today’s announcement on new restrictions is a “dead cat” to distract from fallout over a Downing Street Christmas party which is believed to have taken place last December when such gatherings were banned.
"It may have happened at same time but that's a coincidence,” they said.
“Sage don't care about politics at all and the Prime Minister goes by Sage data.
“It's convenient but not a dead cat at all. Number10 has worked throughout the night on both of those narratives independent of each other.”
Last night footage leaked to ITV showed Downing Street staff joking about holding a Christmas Party last year while the rest of the UK was in lockdown.
In the video, Johnson's then-press secretary Allegra Stratton, along with other aides, laughed about a "fictional" Downing Street party in December 2020.
When one says "it wasn't a party, it was cheese and wine" she laughs and asks "is cheese and wine all right?".
"This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced," she added.
In response to the clip, Number 10 said: "There was no Christmas party. Covid rules have been followed at all times."
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