Boris Johnson could decide on new restrictions on MONDAY after reviewing figures, as studies show Omicron is milder
BORIS Johnson could decide on new restrictions ahead of New Year's Eve as the Prime Minister is set to review the figures by Monday.
Government officials are said to be watching hospital admission rates in the capital – the epicentre of the Omicron outbreak – before implementing more restrictions.
A string of hugely positive studies shows Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.
Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.
The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
The latest data from the NHS shows there was a 92 per cent rise in the number of new hospital Covid-19 admissions in London from last week.
On December 22, 386 patients were admitted for the virus – the highest number in a single day since February.
The latest figures moving uncomfortably close to the Government's threshold of 400 for introducing national curbs.
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Covid-19 admissions peaked in January when 977 Brits were admitted in London.
According to The Times, England recorded 1,246 admissions on December 22 – up 55 per cent from the week before.
This was also the highest number in 24 hours since February 16.
Meanwhile, health experts and ministers are now demanding that the Government distinguishes between people who are being admitted to hospital "with" or "for" Covid before imposing restrictions.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith told the Mail Online that the distinction would be "really important" in understanding the pressure faced by the NHS.
"The government has dragged its feet over showing those figures, I suspect because they know what will happen — it will reduce the numbers that they have going into hospital with Covid — in other words, who are ill and have to go to hospital because of Covid," he said.
The NHS will continue to roll out vaccines on Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year in a bid to protect people from Omicron.
As millions more get jabbed – it's key that you try and keep your family safe this festive season and get a test if you feel unwell.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed that one in 35 Brits currently have Covid, with one in 20 Londoners testing positive in the week to December 19.
It adds up to a record number of weekly infections with 1.7 million infections struck by the virus.
The 122,186 cases reported yesterday marks a grim new high and is 2.8 per cent higher than the day before.
Rates are also 31.3 per cent higher than last Friday.
DROP IN OMICRON CASES
The number of deaths in England of people with the Omicron variant has risen to 29, according to the UKHSA.
Hospital admissions in England for people with confirmed or suspected Omicron rose to 366.
But in news that will bring some festive cheer, there is a suggestion that Omicron could be fading in South Africa.
South African scientists are confident the Omicron outbreak there is receding and may last a total of just a couple of months.
Infections have spiralled in the past week and admissions failed to reach expected levels, as hospitals “never reached capacity”.
Francois Venter, a medical professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, predicted that at the current rate of decline, Omicron would “be pretty much gone” from all of South Africa by the end of January, The Times reports.
Professor Salim Abdool Karim, who leads the country's pandemic response, said he expected "almost every other [country] to follow the same trajectory".
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