Boris Johnson gave the green light on households mixing at Christmas despite Omicron, prompting shoppers to rush out to undertake their last-minute shopping for the big day
Britons have hit the shops causing massive supermarket delays after Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the green light for households mixing on Christmas Day.
Shoppers blocked the streets and formed queues outside the likes of Tesco and Marks & Spencer in Bristol, Crawley and Hampshire today after it was confirmed no new Covid rules would ruin the festive weekend.
Butchers and fishmongers were also overrun, as people waited out in the cold for their turn.
Some could be left hungry after being unable to secure last-minute delivery slots online before December 25 at Asda, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
Thousands dropped their festive plans causing a surge in cancellations with airlines amid fears of a lockdown.
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But now, with it confirmed that loved ones can mix, Britons are making up for lost time with buying in supplies.
The short notice has also disrupted travel plans at train stations and airports heaving with eager holidaymakers.
Photos of the M5 northbound between junctions 19 and 20 near Clevedon show lengthy delays after a fire caused a standstill.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has congratulated the “encouraging” evidence showing the Omicron strain is milder than Delta.
But he warned: “We will keep the situation under review. We will keep analyzing that data and if we need to do anything more we will.”
Professor Neil Ferguson says the country will not see anything like what it experienced last year with ICU units overflowing.
Scientists say Omicron must be watched closely as it still poses a threat due to the speed at which it spreads.
South Africa has reported data on Covid cases that so far indicates Omicron has a lower severity of disease.
“In South Africa, this is the epidemiology: Omicron is behaving in a way that is less severe,” said Prof Cheryl Cohen of the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), one of the authors of the study.
“Compellingly, together our data really suggest a positive story of a reduced severity of Omicron compared to other variants,” she said during a news conference by a group of NICD scientists on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the UK’s stance on Christmas restrictions was largely based on this evidence and has demanded a stop to ‘Project Fear’.
He told MailOnline: “No more restrictions. It is becoming absolutely clear that those of us who said don’t will be proved right now.
“It is time for the scientists to stop Project Fear.”
Sir Iain has also called for Mr Johnson to reassure people that they can carry out relatively normal lives.
I added: “The public needs to feel OK. Yes they need to be careful. Yes in crowded circumstances wearing face masks, yes use hand sanitiser…but that is not the same as stay away, don’t visit your family all that stuff. The answer is, we just get on with it.”