The chief Minister was joined by England’s chief medical officer Sir Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance during a press conference at Downing Street this evening.
Speaking to the nation at 5pm, he said that anyone who thinks ‘our battle with COVID is over’ is ‘considerably wrong’.
The chief Minister said, despite the high number of coronavirus situations being recorded in the UK, there was a ‘chance’ additional restrictions would not be needed in England.
Boris Johnson told a press briefing in Downing Street: ‘But our position today differs from past groups in two crucial respects.
‘First, we now know that Omicron is milder than past variants, so while hospital admissions are rising quickly, with over 15,000 Covid patients now in hospital in England alone, this is not however, thankfully, translating into the same numbers needing intensive care that we saw in past groups.
‘Second, thanks to the fantastic national effort to get Britain boosted, we now have a substantial level of protection, higher than any of our European neighbours, with over 34 million boosters administered, including in England reaching more than 90 per cent of the over 70s and 86 per cent of the over 50s.
‘And so, together with the Plan B measures that we introduced before Christmas, we have a chance to ride out this Omicron wave without shutting down our country once again.
‘We can keep our schools and our businesses open and we can find a way to live with this virus.’
Mr Johnson also said the Government has identified 100,000 basic workers who will be offered daily lateral flow tests to help keep basic sets open.
He told a Downing Street news conference staff working in areas such as food processing, transport and the Border Force would be sent test kits for every working day from January 10.
He further promoted people to get boosted this month, if they hadn’t done so already.
The PM said: ‘Get boosted now’.
Mr Johnson introduced the Plan B restrictions in December – including disguise mandates, work from home order and a big increase in the excursion for booster jabs.
He did not announce any further restrictions over the Christmas period – however he has not rules them out.
Here’s everything you need to know
Coronavirus: Boris Johnson proves no new restrictions to be brought in before …
When will Boris Johnson next make a Covid announcement?
Boris Johnson addressed the nation from Downing Street at 5pm today.
He before decided not to introduce any further restrictions over Christmas and the New Year, this decision came as Scotland, Wales and North Ireland have introduced fresh measures from Boxing Day/ December 27.
It puts England at odds with the rest of the country.
What are the current rules and restrictions?
In England, Plan B is currently in force – with increased disguise mandates, work from home guidance and vaccine passports for large events such as football matches.
Secondary schools have reintroduced confront masks in the classroom from today.
What restrictions were discussed before Christmas?
There has been talks of a two-week circuit breaker lockdown post-Christmas, however that was before a number of studies seemed to confirm that Omicron is ‘milder’ and there is a lower risk of hospitalisation, compared with Delta.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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