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Coronavirus news: Christmas parties cancelled as health chief warns ‘don’t socialise’

Dr Jenny Harries issues warning amid Omicron variant fears

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The latest coronavirus news paints a bleak picture for those hoping to celebrate in the run-up to Christmas.

The public has been warned to limit socialising this Christmas over fears concerning the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said that “being careful” and “not socialising when we don’t particularly need to” could be beneficial.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed her suggestion that people should aim to be “sensible” when it comes to mixing with others over the festive period.

Omicron versus Delta spread graphic
Scientists are concerned the Omicron coronavirus variant is more transmissible than Delta (Credit: Splash News)

This could mean office Christmas parties being called off to stop the variant spreading.

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The PM was quizzed about Dr Harries’ comments as he visited a vaccination centre in London today.

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While Boris said: “I think what Jenny is saying there is right,” he insisted the government isn’t going to change its “overall guidance”.

Meanwhile, the PM’s official spokesperson has ruled out a return to working from home.

The spokesman said that “it is not our advice to the public currently”.

Face masks at London Waterloo as Omicron variant spreads
Face masks became mandatory on public transport today (credit: Splash News)

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New rules came in at 4am Tuesday (November 30), which saw a return to mandatory mask wearing in shops and on public transport.

And London’s Mayor Sadiq Kahn asked people in the capital to go “one step beyond”.

Kahn urged Londoners to mask up while visiting pubs and restaurants, too.

He said earlier: “One of my requests from the government is, let’s not have a hokey cokey when it comes to face mask-wearing where they’re going to review it in three weeks’ time.”

Boris Johnson Press conference Omicron variant Covid
Boris addressed the nation yesterday (Credit: Splash News)

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Johnson addressed the UK in a Downing Street press conference last night.

The PM outlined plans for all adults to be eligible for a booster vaccine.

He also reminded viewers they must now wear face masks on public transport, in shops and beauty salons by law.

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