ondon is seeing a sharp increase in Covid cases with an increase in infections in each district, figures revealed on Friday.
It comes as Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon warns Scotland faces a ‘tsunami of infections’ because of the new Omicron variant
The warning came as face masks became mandatory in more settings, including cinemas, theaters and churches, as the government rolls out its new ‘Plan B’ restrictions.
Meanwhile, controversy continues over several “gatherings” of government personnel held towards the end of 2020.
Wales Covid rules to be reviewed weekly in response to Omicron
The Welsh government will revise its coronavirus forecast on a weekly basis over the winter in response to the threat of the Omicron variant, moving away from the current three-week cycle.
Prime Minister Mark Drakeford has warned the public to prepare for the number of Omicron cases to rise “rapidly and sharply” in the coming weeks.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, he said: “We don’t yet know how serious this form of the disease will be, but the speed at which the variant is moving means it has the potential to infect a large number of people. “
He continued: “This would then translate into a large number of hospital admissions over the next month just as the NHS is already under severe and intense pressure.”
Universities Should ‘Move Online Courses’ To Protect Students Before Christmas
Universities are expected to move online classes for the last week of the quarter due to concerns about the spread of Omicron, a union said.
The Union of Universities and Colleges (UCU) is calling on institutions to take face-to-face classes online to protect students before Christmas.
The call comes after the Department of Education (DfE) asked universities to “remain open to face-to-face teaching as planned” after the government announced the restrictions in Plan B.
Imperial College London has already asked staff to move their teaching online for the final days of the term amid a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases on campus.
The University of Oxford said there were 170 active cases of Covid-19 at the institution as of December 8, a 33% increase from the previous week, many of which were confirmed to be the variant Omicron.
The union, which represents university and college staff, says moving online classes for the last week may reduce social mix and allow students to return home for Christmas before cases increase further.
He adds that employers should be prepared to go beyond government guidelines to protect staff and students from epidemics on campus.
No plans to introduce new Covid measures, according to Downing Street
The government has denied that it plans to introduce new Covid restrictions in England.
A spokesperson for the prime minister said: “We have introduced appropriate measures and have no intention of going beyond.”
However, he said the government “will act if necessary”, adding that there is “a range of options available to us”.
Covid infections on the rise in England and Northern Ireland over the past two weeks, ONS figures show
Coronavirus infections have increased in England and Northern Ireland over the past two weeks, while remaining stable in Wales and declining in Scotland, new data suggests.
According to ONS estimates, around 891,500 people in England had Covid – the equivalent of about one in 60 people – during the week ending December 1.
In Northern Ireland, an estimated 39,300 people contracted the virus in the week ending December 1, which equates to around one in 45 people.
In Wales, the percentage of people testing positive for Covid has appeared to be stable over the past three weeks.
According to the figures, 60,300 people in the country were infected with the virus – about one in 50 – during the week ending December 1.
Meanwhile, the number of people testing positive in Scotland declined in the week ending December 2, 2021.
Demand for public transport drops in London after WFH guidelines announced
The drop in numbers suggests that tens of thousands of people in the capital have already started working from home before the introduction of the new directive.
Transport for London said demand for tube and bus services had declined since last week.
Metro use fell 5% on Thursday and 3% on Friday, while bus use fell 2% on Thursday and 1% on Friday.
A TfL spokesperson said: “The government’s decision to force people to work from home from Monday will naturally lead to a drop in TfL’s ridership.
“We continue to assess the impact this announcement will have on overall ridership levels and, crucially, our operating revenues which are highly dependent on fare revenues.”
Scotland faces a “tsunami” of Covid cases with Omicron likely to replace Delta as the dominant variant within days, warned Nicola Sturgeon.
The premier urged people to cancel the Christmas holidays, warning that cases of the new variant were increasing “exponentially.”
Ms Sturgeon said household contacts of confirmed coronavirus cases should self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status or negative test results
Scotland has recorded 5,018 cases of the virus in the past 24 hours – a significant increase from the recent daily average of 2,800 infections.
Cases of the new variant of Covid-19 could reach just under 25,000 a day by the end of the month, according to a Scottish government document.
Downing Street “liaises” with ministerial watchdog on flat WhatsApps
Downing Street said on Friday he was in liaison with ministerial standards watchdog Lord Geidt after new evidence raised new questions about the renovation of the Prime Minister’s apartment.
The Election Commission on Thursday fined the Conservative Party £ 17,800 for failing to correctly declare donations from Conservative peer Lord Brownlow to help cover the cost of the work on the apartment above No.11 Downing Street .
Downing Street cancels Christmas party as UK switches to Plan B
A Downing Street spokesperson has confirmed that the Christmas party scheduled for this year will not take place, according to the BBC.
Boris Johnson has also made it clear that he has “complete faith” in Director of Communications Jack Doyle and Ed Oldfield, who appeared in the leaked video.
No 10 said there was ‘no plan’ to go further with coronavirus restrictions
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson was asked if there would be a published Plan C, if the current measures did not work.
He said: “There are no plans to go beyond what we have already defined.
“Obviously, we have to keep the characteristics of this variant under review, and we would act if necessary, but there are no plans to go beyond what we have defined. “
He said: “As a responsible government, of course you would expect that we… we already have a range of options in terms of actions we can take to mitigate the growth of any variant or virus.
“But there are no plans to go further at this time.”
1 in 10 would refuse to take advice after alleged Christmas party – YouGov poll
A YouGov poll found that one in 10 Britons would refuse to follow Christmas restrictions after the way No 10 staff acted.