No more Covid rules before the new year, government confirms
- Credit: PA
No further coronavirus restrictions will be introduced before the end of the year, the Health Secretary has said.
Sajid Javid has urged people to "remain cautious" over New Year's celebrations as he confirmed the government had ruled out tighter restrictions for the rest of 2021.
The news will come as a boost to the hospitality industry, which faced a raft of cancellations in the build-up to Christmas as people stayed at home due to Covid concerns.
England is the only UK nation not to introduce post-Christmas pandemic rules, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all bringing in further restrictions on Boxing Day.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was briefed by government scientists on the latest Covid data from England, including hospital admissions, on Monday as the Omicron variant continues to spread across the country.
Mr Javid told broadcasters on Monday: "We look at the data on a daily basis – that hasn’t changed over the Christmas period.
"But there will be no further measures before the new year. Of course, people should remain cautious as we approach New Year’s celebrations.
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"Take a lateral flow test if that makes sense, celebrate outside if you can, have some ventilation if you can.
"Please remain cautious and when we get into the new year, of course, we will see then whether we do need to take any further measures, but nothing more until then, at least."
The latest UK infection data currently in the public domain dates back to Christmas Eve, when more than 122,000 people tested positive in the previous 24 hours, while hospital data on the government dashboard has not been updated since December 20.