Four times more people to be self-isolating this Christmas Day than 2020, report claims


Over one million Brits could be spending Christmas alone this year if they get a positive result on a Covid test – as experts warn the Omicron mutation could be infecting 200,000 people each day

Four times more people could be isolating this December 25 compared to last year
Four times more people could be isolating this December 25 compared to last year

A surge in Covid and Omicron infections could send four times as many Brits into isolation this Christmas Day compared to last year, official data suggests.

Data released predicts more than one million people could be forced to miss December 25 celebrations while following Government containment measures.

And another threat looms as official models predict cases of Omicron are “doubling every two to three days” – infecting 200,000 people daily, it has been reported.

Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, warned ministers at a Cabinet meeting yesterday that the mutation is spreading at an “unbelievably fast” rate.

The rapid transmission will send four times as many Brits into isolation compared to Christmas 2020, according to estimates.

Regular cases of Covid are also at a high, with 59,610 new infections recorded yesterday. This represents the highest daily figure since January and an increase of 30 per cent compared to last week.

Meanwhile, doctors have been identifying patients suffering with Omicron. There have been a total of 5,346 infections recorded after a further 633 cases were logged yesterday.

Data suggests four times as many people could be in isolation this year compared to last Christmas

Brits who test positive for Covid today may also be alone this Christmas.

People are legally required to self-isolate for 10 days on receipt of a positive Covid test, even if they don’t have symptoms.

If symptoms are developed during those 10 days, the additional 10-day isolation would lead to Christmas being missed.

The rules available online read: “If you are isolating because of a positive test result but did not have any symptoms, and you develop Covid-19 symptoms within your isolation period, start a new 10 day isolation period by counting 10 full days from the day following your symptom onset.”

Leading virus experts fear Covid hospital admissions could reach 2,000 a day amid concerns about the Omicron spike.

A leading virus expert predicts hospital admissions could reach 2,000 people every day

Infectious disease scientist, Graham Medley, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Most of the infections at the moment are in young adults, so these are people who are far less likely to need hospital treatment in any case.

“But in the past, in previous waves, we’ve seen that move out into more older and more vulnerable generations and there’s no reason to suspect that won’t happen during this wave.

“And then the numbers of people who end up in hospital is some combination of when people get infected, their vaccination status, as well as what Omicron is doing.”

“I think it is a very real possibility that if the numbers of infections increasing continues in the way that it has done and it spills out into older age groups than we could see the number of people being omitted to hospital getting very large and certainly going over the thousand, maybe up to 2,000 a day”, the scientist, who works at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, added.

Cabinet ministers have also been warned that the NHS could be overwhelmed in a matter of just four weeks.

Ministers are said to have been told so many doctors and nurses could be off sick by January 15 that those left will struggle even more than now to care for patients.

Cabinet ministers have been told the NHS could be overwhelmed in just four weeks

Likewise ministers were told some pubs, shops and restaurants could have to shut if staff shortages leave them high and dry, according to reports.

The Sun originally reported that ministers were warned some hospitals could have to turn patients away, but this was denied by Downing Street.

The PM’s spokesman insisted there had not been “any discussion or any warning about hospitals or clinical settings having to close as a result of this variant”.

He added: “We have strong measures in place and robust, and now tested, procedures in place to ensure [public services] can continue.”

Latest figures suggest 10 known Omicron patients are in hospital but numbers are expected to surge as more cases are detected.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said he was unable to confirm any deaths from the new strain – but warned there is a lag between infections, hospitalisations and deaths.

He said there country was facing a “tidal wave” of infections as the Government launched a mammoth booster programme to battle the “Omicron emergency”.

Boris Johnson gave a televised address to the nation on Sunday night, where he said two doses of a vaccine is “simply not enough” to prevent the spread of Omicron – and the NHS could soon be overwhelmed.

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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