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Concerns at Covid's continued spread as government rules out new restrictions before New Year

EXPERTS raised concerns today about the prospect of Covid-19 continuing to spread like wildfire after Boris Johnson confirmed there would be no new restrictions in England before the new year. 

The decision, which came after the Prime Minister had been briefed on the latest Covid data by Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, mean that large events can go ahead. 

Covid passes will be mandatory, as per Plan B rules, which also include work from home guidance and increased mask wearing.

NHS England reported that there were 1,281 Covid-19 hospital admissions on Christmas Day, up 74 per cent week on week and the highest number since February 16.

It remains well below the peak of the second wave of coronavirus, when admissions reached 4,134 on January 12.

A total of 8,474 people were in hospital in England with Covid-19 as of Monday morning, the highest number since March 5, as hopes grew that omicron would prove to be milder than previous variants of the virus.

NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said that there had been a growing number of Covid-19 hospital admissions, but “not precipitately so,” although the NHS remains under presssure from staff absences. 

Some scientific experts have warned that not acting quickly could increase the number of people becoming ill. 

Speaking to the Guardian, Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said: “While nobody wants to live under tighter controls, the public need to realise that if we end up with a significant problem of hospitalisations and mass sickness, it will be worse than if authorities had acted earlier.”

Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, also told the newspaper: “It does feel hard that, at a time when we need to all pull together to maximise all possible mitigations, we seem to have our greatest divergence between expert clinical/scientific advice and legislation.”

In Scotland, MSPs will meet today as ministers decide whether any further measures need to be implemented.

Nicola Sturgeon’s government has put stronger measures in place in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus over the festive period, urging people to limit socialising in person “as much as possible.”

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