People warn to cut social activities as Omicron cases soar

It’s Christmas party season – but people have been warned to decide ‘what really matters’ (Image: NNP/PA)

Chris Whitty has told the nation to cut back on socializing in the run-up to Christmas and ‘prioritize’ what really matters as Omicron cases continue to rise.

Britain’s chief medical officer told people to decide ‘what’s really important’ to them when considering whether to attend parties and events during the festive period.

At a press conference tonight, he said: ‘I don’t think you need to be a doctor to think that. I think it’s something that most people calculate very sharp, and to me that seems like a reasonable approach. ‘

Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s director of primary care, said people come to the stadium this weekend to practice ‘rather than going to watch a match’ in the same meeting.

The government has not put in place any official restrictions on social gatherings but Boris Johnson said he agreed with Professor Whitty and urged the public to ‘think carefully’.

The UK recorded its highest daily total of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infections today since the pandemic began, with 78,610 new cases announced.

Omicron is now the dominant strain of bacteria in London and infections are increasing rapidly, with more record infections expected in the coming days.

Professor Whitty has told people ‘don’t mingle with people you don’t have to’.

England’s chief medical officer told people to think about ‘what’s really important’ to them before Christmas (Image: PA)
Professor Whitty has told people to ‘don’t mingle with people you don’t have to’ at events that are not among the most important to them (Image: Getty Images)

He said: ‘I really think people should prioritize those things – and only those things – that are really important to them.

‘Because otherwise the risk of someone getting something that doesn’t really matter to them and then not being able to do the things that matter to them obviously goes up.’

The Prime Minister has refused to go as far as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has given specific directives to urge people to limit contact with three households before and after Christmas.

But he said: ‘I totally agree with Chris on the reaction we’ve seen from everyone, our common instinct is to be more cautious.

‘I’ve said many times that I think this year’s Christmas will be significantly better than last year’s and I stand by that.

‘We don’t cancel events, we don’t close receptions, we don’t cancel people’s parties or their ability to mix.

The Prime Minister has been accused of sending mixed messages to the public (Image: AFP)

‘What we’re saying is think carefully before you go.

‘What kind of event was that? You are likely to meet vulnerable people, you will meet countless people that you have never met before? And get a test. ‘

However, the ambiguity in the prime minister’s comments has been heavily criticized and described as ‘deeply questionable’.

Professor Stephen Reicher, who advises the government as part of the Behavioral Science Pandemic (Spi-B) Insights Group, said Mr Johnson’s refusal appeared as clear as Professor Whitty was. An example of a mixed message.

He told Channel 4 News: ‘He can’t say ‘don’t go to a nightclub if you want to see your loved ones for Christmas’, and I think that leads to the mixed message that is really there. problem because the clear message needs to go out with people is yes buy your booster it will work in a few weeks time but now to prevent the new variant from taking over be careful Be careful, don’t socialize unless you have to. ‘

People are being urged to push forward and think carefully about who they interact with in the days and weeks ahead (Image: North News & Pictures Ltd)

The chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce, Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, warned of the potentially devastating effects the Prime Minister’s remarks could also have on the hospitality sector.

“The need for the chief medical officer to advise the public to ‘not prioritize social relationships’ during tonight’s press conference will certainly have a huge impact on businesses, especially in the healthcare sector,” she said. hotel.

‘Despite this, we have still not heard from any new financial support measures from the Government to help those businesses and others hit hard by the current restrictions. .

‘Treasury has been ramping up so far at every stage of this crisis to help offset the constraints that businesses’ ability to fully transact, which is what makes the absence complete. Its security at this critical time becomes all the more difficult. “

Tory MP Anne Marie Morris added: ‘If we are to advise people not to go to receptions this Christmas this year, this needs to be accompanied by immediate financial support for each sector. specifically from the Treasury.’

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Huynh Nguyen

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