LIVE: Boris Johnson press conference updates amid possible new restrictions

Boris Johnson is holding a press conference at 6pm this evening to update the public on Covid measures.

By Daniel Sheridan
Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 5:58 pm

Follow below for all the latest updates as we get them:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street, London, to attend Prime Minister's Questions at the Houses of Parliament. Picture date: Wednesday December 8, 2021. PA

LIVE: Boris Johnson press conference updates amid possible new restrictions

Last updated: Wednesday, 08 December, 2021, 18:19

  • Boris Johnson press conference updates amid possible new restrictions

Sajid Javid has warned that the UK faces a “perilous winter” with the Omicron variant infections rising, even with the protection of vaccines.

The Health Secretary told the Commons: “When we set out Plan B, we said that we would act if the NHS was likely to come under unsustainable pressure and with that risk of being able to provide the care and treatment that people need. The Omicron variant has given us cause for concern.”

Speaking of the protection given by vaccines, he added: “Thanks to these defences and our decision to open up in the summer rather than the winter we are much better protected than we were this time last year and we need this protection now more than ever.

“Because although Omicron is becoming more and more prevalent, over the next few days and weeks we will be seeing Delta and Omicron variants circulating together. Facing these twin threats without these pharmaceutical defences would have been hard enough but even with them in place, we still face a perilous winter.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the Commons: “We’re confident that Omicron is significantly more transmissible than Delta.”

Speaking in the Commons he said: “There is still a lot to learn, but some important data has emerged recently.”

He added: “It is far more transmissible than the Delta variant.”

He said Delta cases had doubled in around seven days but for Omicron “based on the latest data from here and around the world, our latest analysis is that it’s been around, it’s between 2.5 and three days.

“This has made the virus an even more formidable foe.”

Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference: “We can’t yet assume that Omicron is less severe than previous variants.

“So while the picture may get better, and I sincerely hope that it will, we know that the remorseless logic of exponential growth could lead to a big rise in hospitalisations and therefore, sadly, in deaths.

“That’s why it is now the proportionate and the responsible thing to move to Plan B in England while continuing to work closely with our colleagues in the devolved administrations, so we slow the spread of the virus, buy ourselves the time to get yet more boosters into arms, especially in the older and more vulnerable people.”

The Prime Minister said that people should work from home if they can as of Monday.

Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference: “We will reintroduce the guidance to work from home.

“Employers should use the rest of the week to discuss working arrangements with their employees but from Monday you should work from home if you can.

“Go to work if you must but work from home if you can.

“I know this will be hard for many people but by reducing your contacts in the workplace, you will help slow transmission.”

Boris Johnson confirmed it was time to move to “Plan B” of the Government’s coronavirus strategy, with measures including a return to working from home.

He told a Downing Street press conference: “It has become increasingly clear that Omicron is growing much faster than the previous Delta variant and is spreading rapidly all around the world.”

While 568 cases had been confirmed in the UK “the true number is certain to be much higher”.

“Most worryingly, there is evidence that the doubling time of Omicron could currently be between two and three days.”

Guidance to work from home is to be reintroduced in England as part of measures to halt the spread of the Omicron variant, Boris Johnson has announced.

  • Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs there are 568 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant but the estimated current number is “probably closer to 10,000”.

Follow above for all of the latest updates from the press conference tonight.

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