Weddings and funerals could be spared from new lockdown restrictions being considered by ministers in the run up to New Year’s Eve.
If tougher Covid-19 restrictions introduced the government wants to avoid disruption to significant life events and so will allow funerals and weddings to go ahead, the Times first reported.
The Prime Minister will review the latest scientific data today in order to make a decision on whether to introduce new lockdown restrictions to stop the spread of Omicron.
New measures have already come into force in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but ministers have so far swerved dictating new rules to those in England, instead hoping warnings would encourage people to self-police their own behaviour and cut down on social contacts.
Ministers are said to be “increasingly optimistic but very cautiously optimistic” about the new variant with the prospect of introducing new lockdown measures in England less likely now than it was a week ago. Data on the Omicron variant from the UK Health Security Agency found that the chance of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower when people are infected with the new strain than they were from Delta.
Nonetheless, the higher transmissibility of the Omicron variant means that the risks of hospitalisations and deaths rising remains a concern for government.
Officials have drawn up a series of options for the government to decide between with The Times learning that exemptions for major life events, including births, weddings and funerals are included in all lockdown scenarios being proposed.
On 24 December over 122,000 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK and 137 people died from the virus.