UK ‘nowhere near Christmas lockdown’ despite Omicron, promises Health Secretary

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has assured Brits that the UK is 'nowhere near a full Christmas lockdown' and that despite fears of the Omicron variant, Christmas will be 'great'.

Two cases of the new deadly variant were confirmed yesterday, which led to growing fears that the UK may end up with another lockdown during the festive season, like the one it had in 2020.

However, according to the Health Secretary, "we're nowhere near" imposing lockdown and social distancing measures or reintroducing working from home to combat coronavirus.

Speaking to Sky's Trevor Phillips on Sunday, he said: "We know now those types of measures do carry a very heavy price, both economically, socially, in terms of non-Covid health outcomes such as impact on mental health.

"So, if one was to make decisions like that they would have to be done very, very carefully and we're not there yet, we're nowhere near that."

"I think it's fair to say that the nature of this pandemic is it would be irresponsible to make guarantees," Mr Javid said.

"As for Christmas, I think people should continue with their plans as normal for Christmas, I think it's going to be a great Christmas."

However, the UK government has reintroduced some rules, as the mask mandate returns next week in a bid to tackle the Omicron variant.

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Wearing face masks will now be compulsory in shops and buses, trains and taxis in England from Tuesday.

Since the emergence of the first two cases of the deadly superstrain, rules regarding overseas travel and self-isolation have been tightened.

The Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa, is regarded as the 'worst variant' of the coronavirus yet by some experts, as they fear that it may be more transmissible than the Delta strain and current vaccines may be less effective against it.

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