Minister Warns Against Making New Year’s Plans You Can’t Cancel In Case Of Covid Rules
The care minister Gillian Keegan has admitted there is “uncertainty” over whether further Covid restrictions will have to be brought in soon after Christmas.
"If you can't change your plans quickly, then maybe think about it,” she said when asked on LBC if people should cancel events for New Year’s Eve.
Boris Johnson has confirmed there will not be more Covid restrictions implemented before Christmas Day, but the Prime Minister hinted they could still be required shortly after to deal with a rising number of infections due to the Omicron variant.
Keegan said a short “circuit-breaker” lockdown after the festive season could not be ruled out.
"We are waiting for data on the severity, we'll still have to wait to see where we land on that, but we can't really say,” she told Sky News.
"Up to Christmas we're fine looking at the data, looking at the numbers we have at the moment, but, of course, we have to look at where this virus goes, where this variant goes."
The minister said the government will not hesitate to take further measures to tackle Covid-19 "if it's required to keep people safe”.
It has been reported that new curbs on social mixing could be brought in as soon as next week, throwing plans for New Year’s Eve parties into doubt.
"We can't predict what the data is going to tell us before we've got the data," she said.
"We're trying to take a balanced and proportionate approach so that people could see their families over Christmas to try and plan some stuff.”
Keegan also defended the change to self-isolation rules, which mean those in England who are vaccinated and receive negative lateral flow results on day six and day seven of their quarantine period can now exit it without doing the full 10 days.
The minister said there was "equivalent" risk between negative tests on day six and seven, and waiting to 10 days.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said last night it was a "sensible way forward”, and had been informed by advice from the UK Health Security Agency.
But he added that anyone who leaves after day seven under the new procedure “should continue to remain cautious”, something Keegan echoed this morning.
She urged people to take regular tests and go to places that are well ventilated
"Be cautious to enjoy your Christmas,” she added.
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