Dominic Raab has told Brits to “enjoy Christmas“, with a SAGE expert warning further restrictions could immediately follow in January due to the Omicron variant.
However, Mr Raab also admitted today (December 5) there won’t be a festive bash at the Ministry of Justice.
What has Dominic Raab said about Christmas parties?
Appearing on Sky News, the Justice Secretary noted his department will still have “appropriate drinks at a smaller scale”.
However, he did not warn against having festive get togethers entirely.
Mr Raab encouraged employers to show “common sense” and seemed confident bosses “will think about the right way to do it”.
What did Raab say about Christmas and Omicron?
Raab also spoke to Andrew Marr on BBC One this morning, saying he would “continue to be vigilant”.
He also insisted the UK is “in a much more confident position because of the vaccine and boosters”.
Mr Raab predicted: “I think it’s going to be a great Christmas. All the family, friends, loved ones being able to get together in a way we haven’t been able to do for a couple of years is really important.”
I think it’s going to be a great Christmas.
He also indicated he would be happy to see elderly relatives. However, he added: “Of course it always depends a little bit on their personal condition.
“If they’re safeguarding it may be different.
“But I think people should enjoy Christmas, get their loved ones around them. And celebrate it in a way we haven’t been able to in the past.”
‘One of the highest-risk periods’
However, over on Sky News, a SAGE member warned against complacency in the face of a the Omicron variant.
Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, of the University of Cambridge, indicated further restrictions may be required in January otherwise.
He said: “Just like last year with the Alpha variant, this is a terrible time for a variant to come along.
“The next two weeks are probably some of the highest-risk periods with a lot of indoor socialising that we know is extremely high risk.
“It’s appalling timing. I’m sure the Government would love not to disrupt Christmas. What happens after Christmas of course is another matter.”
Professor Spiegelhalter warned: “The New Year is quite likely to see a lot of challenges to face. And that could very well mean more stringent measures.”
England’s current face mask and travel testing laws are due to be reviewed on December 20.
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