UK scientists warn it may be too late to wait for New Year to impose new restrictions

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Scientists have reacted with dismay to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision not to impose fresh restrictions to curb the spread of Omicron, insisting that waiting until the new year would “almost certainly be too late to have a material impact on the epidemic”.

Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia told The Guardian that because the rate of growth in infection rates may already have plateaued or fallen by then, it may also be too late to know what impact those restrictions would have had if they had been introduced earlier. “We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t,” said.

Britain has reported record levels of COVID-19 cases over the past week, with officials and ministers warning that hospitalisations are also rising.

Johnson held a more than two-hour cabinet meeting on Monday (December 20) to discuss the latest COVID-19 situation where ministers, according to British media, reportedly pushed back against the prospect of new restrictions before Christmas.

British media reported that curbs, lasting between two weeks and a month, were now more likely to be introduced after, possibly from Dec. 28.

The Times and other media outlets said these would likely include a ban on households mixing indoors, as well as possible limits on the numbers who can meet outdoors and pubs and restaurants limited to opening outdoors only.

via The Guardian, The Times (UK) and Reuters.

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