Prime minister Boris Johnson has doubled down on his Plan B approach, as Covid-19 cases hit their highest since March last year.
Meanwhile, chief medical officer Chris Whitty offered a sobering warning on the rise of cases.
Around 45 per cent of adults in England have received their booster jabs, Johnson said, as the government opened up the offering to anyone over the age of 12.
The 15-minute waiting post-jab waiting time is to be removed from tomorrow in a bid to get more jabs in arms.
“Lets slow down omicron’s spread and reduce the harm it can do to us by building up our defences,” said the prime minister. “Let’s keep giving Omicron both barrels.”
With cases hitting a record high, and no lockdown to be in sight, Johnson praised the Plan B approach.
“We think that given the balance of risks and the balance of continuing uncertainty of Omicron, this is the right mixture of approaches,” he said.
Responding to the reports of Christmas parties among government departments last year amid lockdown restrictions, Johnson added that “the events” were “completely mischaracterised”.
“Everybody across politics should follow the rules.”
Whitty said that while deaths are down “slightly” and hospital admissions for older people are decreasing, the latest figures do not yet represent the Omicron wave which is still “too recent”.
While the exact ratios are not yet known, there will be “substantial” numbers going into hospital after Christmas, as the virus moves at an “absolutely phenomenal pace”.
Omicron, the latest Covid-19 strain which makes up around 60 per cent of all cases in London, is “steadily rising”, Whitty explained in the briefing.
“This peak is going very fast,” he warned.
One person has died from the Omicron variant.