Sage expert Sir David Spiegelhalter has said that there may be one million Brits forced to isolate on Christmas Day due to the surge in Covid infections driven by the Omicron variant
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A Sage expert has warned that there could be as many as a million Brits isolating on Christmas Day as Covid cases continue their dramatic surge.
Covid cases have risen in 60 per cent of areas in the UK in a week – with areas of London witnessing an explosion in infections driven by Omicron.
Now Sir David Spiegelhalter, a Cambridge University professor, has given the sobering news that a vast number of people will have to isolate over the festive period and gave a figure of one million for Christmas Day.
The academic told BBC Newsnight: “I haven’t seen the sums behind it, it sounds like it is in fact possible.
“It depends on whether people get tested, because more than half of people who are infected don’t go on and get tested. But we do know there is going to be huge disruption.”
It comes as Boris Johnson has warned that the new Covid variant is doubling in less than two days in some regions as he warned the “wave of Omicron continues to roll in”.
The Prime Minister urged the public to “give Omicron both barrels” as he appealed to the nation to get their boosters urgently to see off the spread of the new strain.
A record-breaking 78,610 new Covid cases emerged as of 9am on Wednesday – the highest daily total since the pandemic began.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said: “The wave of Omicron continues to roll in across the whole of our United Kingdom, with over 78,000 Covid cases today, the highest ever daily number reported.
“The doubling rate of Omicron in some regions is now down to less than two days and I’m afraid we are also seeing the inevitable increase in hospitalisations up by 10 per cent nationally week on week and up by almost a third in London.”
Johnson unveiled a Plan B last week which has seen face masks returning for indoor areas as well vaccine passports or a negative Covid test for some venues from this Wednesday.
There has been talk of a Plan C for greater restrictions but so far the government is putting its focus on its booster programme.
Another Sage scientist Professor Andrew Hayward feels that the message needs to be clearer to people that they should reduce social contact to slow the Omicron spread.
Currently it can be seen that the Omicron variant appears to be more contagious and it is unclear how dangerous it is compared to other Covid strains.
The University College London academic told Newsnight: “By the time we know all the answers we want to know about severity it might be too late to do much about it, which I think is why it does make sense for people to be really quite cautious and I would personally like to see clearer messaging about people reducing their social contacts.
“That idea that if you want to go home for Christmas try not to catch Covid in the next few days is a very sensible one.”