Boris Johnson to hold emergency meeting today as Xmas lockdown decision looms
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is to hold an emergency COBRA meeting today – just 24 hours after failing to attend the last one.
Today's meeting will likely decide the fate of the country post-Christmas, as cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant surges across the UK.
The meeting comes as positive cases topped 82,866 – up more than 50% on last week – and as the Government's scientific experts claimed that it was “almost certain” that we would see hundreds of thousands of new Omicron infections per day.
And Scotland's First Minister divulged on Twitter that Boris Johnson failed to attend last night's COBRA meeting.
She tweeted: "As infections soar and businesses suffer, we still need much more urgency in action/support from UK Gov – so that devolved gov hands not tied.
"To that end, it was disappointing and frustrating that neither the PM nor the Chancellor attended this evening’s COBRA."
But today's meeting will, if the Prime Minister does attend, likely decide the fate of the country over the next four to six weeks.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned, yesterday, that there are "no guarantees" that Christmas gatherings will be able to go ahead, and the Prime Minister essentially cancelled Christmas on December 19, 2020, so doing so again this year would not be out of the question.
Potential measures being discussed included a ban on household mixing and the closure of indoor hospitality venues, as well as non-essential shops.
It would either start within a few days time or, if Christmas was allowed to go ahead as planned, on January 4, 2022 – according to several sources close to the situation.
However, a source did tell The Mirror last night that there were "no plans" for a press conference today to announce any new restrictions – which makes the chances of new rules being implemented after Christmas more likely.
Mr Javid, speaking to several news programmes yesterday morning said: "We are assessing the situation, it’s very fast-moving.
"We’ve seen with Omicron there’s a lot that we still don’t know about Omicron. That’s the truth of the matter. The reality is there’s a lot of uncertainty."
If the Prime Minister were to decide to introduce new restrictions, he would need to recall Parliament to ratify them – which could also force another back-bench rebellion, just a few days after he struggled to get his Vaccine Passport law through.
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