Boris Johnson says jabs have put UK in 'incomparably better' position to fight Covid than last year in freedom boost
JABS have put Britain on an "incomparably better" footing to fight Covid than last year, Boris Johnson hailed today in a major boost for freedom.
In an upbeat New Year's message the PM hinted that the turbo-charged booster rollout could spare the country from fresh restrictions.
A decision on whether to impose tougher measures to tackle Omicron is expected next week on the back of crunch hospital data.
But the PM this morning promised that vaccines were the best way of avoiding a fresh squeeze in a plea for unvaxxed Brits to get their shots.
He said: "Whatever the challenges that fate continues to throw in our way and whatever the anxieties we may have about the weeks and months ahead, particularly about omicron and the growing numbers in hospitals…
"We can say one thing with certainty – our position this December the 31st is incomparably better than last year."
In major developments:
- All adults have now been offered a booster, Downing Street said
- NHS chiefs said more restrictions are not needed – yet
- Millions prepared to celebrate New Year's Eve in large crowds
- Yesterday was another record day with 189,213 daily cases
More than 58 per cent of the population aged 12 and above have so far had their third dose.
Downing St also said that all eligible adults have now had the chance to get a booster.
Mr Johnson suggested unvaxxed Brits make it their New Year's resolution to get jabbed.
In a stark warning he said: "I want to speak directly to all those who have yet to get fully vaccinated. The people who think the disease can’t hurt them – look at the people going into hospital now, that could be you.
“Look at the intensive care units and the miserable, needless suffering of those who did not get their booster, that could be you.
“So, make it your New Year’s resolution – far easier than losing weight or keeping a diary – find a walk-in centre or make an online appointment."
The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
The PM is keeping an especially close eye on hospitalisations amid warnings the NHS is coming under strain.
The number of Covid patients in wards rose to 11,452 yesterday – up 61 per cent on last week to the highest level since February.
However the figure includes patients who have tested positive for Covid in hospital without necessarily being treated for it.
Around 33 per cent of all Covid positive people in hospital were found to have the virus as a secondary issue, fresh data showed today.
It means someone being treated for a broken leg – but who also has coronavirus – would be in the stats even if they're not severely ill.
IN THE BALANCE
NHS chiefs believe the threshold for imposing new restrictions has not yet been crossed.
But Chris Hopson, head of NHS providers, this morning warned curbs should be clamped on "at real speed" if hospitals come under severe strain.
He told the BBC: "We know that the government has set a high threshold on introducing extra new restrictions.
"So on that basis, trust leaders can see why the government's arguing that in the absence of a surge of seriously ill patients coming into hospital, that threshold hasn't yet been crossed.
"But we still don't know if the surge will come and indeed we're exactly talking about the preparations that we're making or that surge right now.
"So in terms of restrictions, I think we're in exactly the same place we've been in for the last fortnight, which is the government needs to be ready to introduce tighter restrictions at real speed should they be needed."
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