Government restrictions could end in two weeks or could take longer, the health secretary has said, as health bosses look to roll-out a major booster jab expansion programme.
Sajid Javid has been speaking to major news broadcasters including BBC Radio 4 and Sky News this morning where he said more will be known about the new Omicron variant in a fortnight’s time, and indicated a review could be carried out at that point.
“It might take a bit longer than three weeks, it might be a bit sooner than three weeks,” the he told Sky News.
“We’re confident that, actually, maybe within two weeks that we can know a lot more about this.”
Since Sunday evening, the latest COVID stats for Lincolnshire have seen:
- 1,172 new cases of coronavirus with 818 in Lincolnshire, 202 in North East Lincolnshire and 152 in North Lincolnshire.
- Four further deaths were recorded in the government figures, including three Lincolnshire and one North East Lincolnshire resident. The figure means that more than 2,500 people have died with coronavirus in Greater Lincolnshire in general.
- 16 hospital deaths with 12 at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust and four at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust. The latest figure means more than 1,500 people across Greater Lincolnshire have died in hospital with coronavirus.
A total of 22 cases of Omicron have been confirmed in the UK so far – 13 in England and nine cases in Scotland linked to a single event
“We might not even need to wait three weeks, but the three weeks was a sensible date to set for a review because now that we have live samples of the virus, they’ve gone to our labs in Porton Down,” said Mr Javid.
“Our scientists and the best scientists in the world are working through it, we’re working with our G7 colleagues… so we’re working internationally, we’re working at pace at home and I think in a couple of weeks we will know a lot more about this variant.”
As ministers voted to approve new restrictions including mask wearing in shops and on public transport on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a press conference he wanted all over 18s to be given a booster jab by the end of January.
The new legislation will not expire until March 24 and 33 Conservative MPs, including Lincoln’s Karl McCartney, voted against the plans.
A ramping up of the roll-out could see more than 400 military personnel used to help in the scheme which is estimated to require one million jabs a week, while doses will be offered by hospital hubs, pharmacies and other NHS staff.
The latest restrictions and measures have caused concern that the country could face a similar situation to last Christmas with a last-minute lockdown before the big day.
However, Mr Javid told BBC Breakfast people should be cautious but not change their plans for Christmas parties.
He urged people to take precautions such as taking regular lateral flow tests or wearing a mask.
Coronavirus data for Greater Lincolnshire on Tuesday, November 30
157,632 (up 1,172)
- 105,554 in Lincolnshire (up 818)
- 25,377 in North Lincolnshire (up 152)
- 26,701 in North East Lincolnshire (up 202)
2,500 deaths (up four)
- 1,827 from Lincolnshire (up three)
- 339 from North Lincolnshire (no change)
- 334 from North East Lincolnshire (up one)
of which 1,485 hospital deaths (up 16)
- 928 at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (up 12)
- 44 at Lincolnshire Community Health Service hospitals (no change)
- 1 at Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust (no change)
- 528 in Northern Lincolnshire (NLAG) (up four)