Covid UK LIVE: Crisis cabinet meeting today as Christmas lockdown fears grow

Deputy PM refuses to rule out restrictions before Christmas

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab this morning refused to rule out more Covid restrictions by Christmas as cases mount.

Nearly 550,000 people have tested positive for the virus over the past week as hospital admissions start to increase.

However, Mr Raab said the UK was in a better position than it was last year, when a panicked Boris Johnson was forced to plunge large parts of England into a lockdown full.

Scientists have expressed alarm at the rate at which the Omicron variant is tearing the country apart, fearing that increasing cases and staff isolations could overwhelm the NHS.

Yesterday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid did not rule out the introduction of new restrictions.

Mr Raab told Sky News presenter Kay Burley: “We will have a much better Christmas than last year because of the vaccination level, both the overall vaccination level but in particular the impact of the campaign. recall, and we saw it on Saturday, just in one day, 900,000 people are being recalled. “

When asked if he could guarantee that there would be no more restrictions by Christmas Day, Mr Raab said: ‘Well I just can’t make any firm guarantees and fast. “

Mr Raab said 12 people had died with the Omicron variant, but could not say how many of them were vaccinated when Sky News presenter Kay Burley insisted.

Mr Raab said: “I’m not sure. (What) we do know is that a large portion of people hospitalized are not vaccinated.

“I’m not familiar with Omicron’s particular breakdown but, of course, it reinforces that case for people who show up and have the recall.”

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