Covid: Pubs and restaurants ‘may close for the new year’

The government is said to be looking at ‘a range of options’ (Image: REX)

Pubs and restaurants could close for the next few weeks under a secret Omicron contingency plan, it announced.

Limits on the number of people allowed to congregate in these spaces could be introduced after Whitehall officials prepare new measures.

But Eve Parties may even be canceled as the Government considers shutting down, according to Sun.

A source apparently told the paper: ‘You should be able to see your family for Christmas, but at this rate you might not be able to do it in a pub. As for New Year’s Eve, it’s a different story. ‘

Businesses will be supported if Boris Johnson shuts down the hospitality industry to tackle the Omicron variant, Time report.

Senior Government sources said it was too early to comment on whether such measures were necessary, adding that a range of options were being offered.

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid insisted he was ‘not aware of any further restrictions’ when MPs were asked to vote on Plan B today.

The Department of Health pointed to of his comment from yesterday, saying: ‘We are focused on the regulations that are about to be enacted before the House of Commons and will abide by the will of the House of Commons. ‘

One person infected with Omicron has died in the UK, although it is not clear if they have been vaccinated or if they have underlying health conditions.

According to reports, the furlough scheme could be brought back if the reception closes (Image: Getty Images Europe)
People have been asked to work from home under Plan B (Image: REX)

Officials confirm 10 people have been hospitalized with the new variant after Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab misreport the number 250 this morning.

There are now 4,713 confirmed cases of it across the UK. But Health Minister Sajid Javid yesterday said they fear that the real number is 200,000.

A few weeks after being discovered in the UK, Omicron was expected to become the dominant coronavirus strain in today’s London.

Boris Johnson said the strain would cause the majority of cases across the capital on Tuesday, warning of a ‘tide wave’ of infections.

But cases can be harder to detect than usual because of lateral flow tests not on the Government website for the second day of operation.

The government has vowed to give every adult a shot in the next two weeks, although experts have warned this will put the NHS under enormous pressure.

Experts in South Africa, where the variant was found, have confirmed Omicron produces a mild version of Covid.

Dr Angelique Coetzee, head of the South African Medical Association, said ICU wards in her country were not fully booked and only one or two hospitals had increased admissions.

But the prime minister Disproved experts claim that variation is of little interest in Monday.

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Huynh Nguyen

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