Will we go into another lockdown before Christmas?

20 December 2021, 07:58 | Updated: 21 December 2021, 08:25

Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Are we going into lockdown after Christmas in England? Find out what Boris Johnson has said about new rules...

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Two years after the coronavirus pandemic hit the news, we were all hoping for a more ‘normal’ Christmas.

But many of us have already cancelled our plans this festive season as the cases of the Omicron variant continue to rise.

Talks are now reportedly being held in government to decide whether to increase social distancing restrictions before December 25. Here’s everything we know…

Boris Johnson is set to make another Covid announcement this week
Boris Johnson is set to make another Covid announcement this week. Picture: Alamy

Will there be a lockdown at Christmas?

It is still not clear what Boris Johnson will announce ahead of Christmas Day.

The government previously said their ‘Plan B’ restrictions - which include mandatory mask wearing and Covid passes - would be enough to slow the spread of Omicron.

Officials have also been urging everyone over the age of 18 who is eligible to get their booster jab.

Scientists from advisors Sage have since told the Prime Minister to put curbs on indoor drinking and socialising within days to save the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.

And Health Secretary Sajid Javid has now hinted more rules could be introduced this week.

Pubs and restaurants could be restricted again this Christmas
Pubs and restaurants could be restricted again this Christmas. Picture: Alamy

When asked whether new restrictions could be implemented, he said: “We are assessing the situation; it’s very fast-moving.”

Government insiders expect an announcement to be made early this week about whether we will still be able to meet up with our friends and family over the festive period.

Rules that could be brought in include a cap on the number of families that can meet on December 25 and even the closure of pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops.

This comes after government advisers warned that without tougher measures, hospitalisations across England could reach between 3,000 and 10,000 a day.

Social distancing rules could be brought back in this week
Social distancing rules could be brought back in this week. Picture: Getty Images

Leaked minutes from a meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Emergencies (Sage) showed the experts urging ‘more stringent measures very soon’.

Reports suggest they are advising a return to step one or two of the ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ which would stop household mixing indoors and pubs would have to serve customers outside.

The scientists warned: “The timing of such measures is crucial. Delaying until 2022 would greatly reduce the effectiveness of such interventions and make it less likely that these would prevent considerable pressure on health and care settings.”

Mr Javid went on to say the government was taking this analysis very seriously and would be assessing their next move, while also taking into account the economic effects of new restrictions.

According to reports, the PM would prefer to delay restrictions until after Christmas.

The Financial Times suggests that the government is considering plans for a new two-week circuit breaker lockdown in the New Year.