Last night it was confirmed that New Year’s Eve in England will go ahead without the introduction of any new Covid-19 restrictions.
The Times reported yesterday that no more Covid restrictions would come into force in England before New Year’s Eve, saying that the Prime Minister had given the go-ahead for people to celebrate ‘as usual’.
The paper wrote that Johnson had “concluded that curbs were not required on indoor gatherings after a meeting with senior officials in which he was presented with the latest data on the spread of the Omicron variant.”
Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, has however warned that people should be prepared for the possibility of more restrictions coming into force in the new year.
He told Sky News, “We won’t be taking any further measures. Of course, people should remain cautious as we approach New Year’s celebrations, and you know, take a lateral flow test if that makes sense.
“Celebrate outside if you can, have some ventilation indoors 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.”
Elsewhere in the UK, more stringent restrictions are in place – meaning that England may be the only one of the four countries with nightclubs staying open this New Year’s Eve.
Yesterday, 98,515 new cases and 143 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were reported in England alone by the UK Health and Security Agency.
And in the past seven days, a total of 763,298 new positive cases have been registered. It is thought, however, that the true figure is likely to be much higher thanks to reporting delays created by the Christmas holidays.
Manchester’s night tsar Sacha Lord championed the news, calling the decision ‘tough’ but ‘defining’.
He tweeted in support of the move, saying:
“This announcement is bigger than a New Years Eve party in England.
“For many, this will give hope.
“For many, this will help some struggling at the moment.
“A tough decision, put a defining one.”
Lord has been a vocal critic of the government’s lack of support for hospitality in recent weeks, and has previously urged for the government to take into account people’s mental health when making any decisions around new restrictions.