Boris Johnson Omicron announcement news: Heartbroken families to spend Xmas apart over INSANE cost of quarantine hotels

Families have been left "heartbroken" after being forced to cancel Christmas plans over the cost of the UK's quarantine hotels.

Colin Doney, a teacher from Northampton, had to cancel his flight home from Malawi due to the £2,285-cost of the 10-day quarantine required for travellers from red list countries.

His 77-year-old mother, who suffers from severe osteoarthritis, now faces spending Christmas Day alone after his father died last year.

"My flights were booked to return home to be with mum but the quarantine stipulations have made it too costly," Mr Doney, 52, told the PA news agency.

"I'm upset that I won't be home, mostly because mum will be alone for the day."

Read our Covid-19 live blog for the latest news and updates…

  • Joseph Gamp

    'Heatbroken' families forced to spend Xmas apart over cost of quarantine hotels

    Families have been left "heartbroken" after being forced to cancel Christmas plans over the cost of the UK's quarantine hotels.

    Colin Doney, a teacher from Northampton, had to cancel his flight home from Malawi due to the £2,285-cost of the 10-day quarantine required for travellers from red list countries.

    His 77-year-old mother, who suffers from severe osteoarthritis, now faces spending Christmas Day alone after his father died last year.

    "My flights were booked to return home to be with mum but the quarantine stipulations have made it too costly," Mr Doney, 52, told the PA news agency.

    "I'm upset that I won't be home, mostly because mum will be alone for the day."

    Mr Doney has been teaching at a school in Malawi for almost two years but said it would cost more than a quarter of his annual wage to fly home for the festive period.

    His father was diagnosed with cancer in January 2020 then "died alone in hospital" due to Covid restrictions five months later, something the family are "still angry about".

    He said his mother is sad that plans for the day will not go ahead, but the family had been "prepared for the worst" amid news of the Omicron variant.

    "Infection numbers here in Malawi are low and we're double vaccinated," Mr Doney added.

  • Joseph Gamp

    PM accused of flouting THREE Covid lockdown rules

    Boris Johnson has been accused of flouting three Covid lockdown rules in a late-night dinner date with wife Carrie last year.

    A source has told how the pair were at a fashionable London restaurant until 10.25pm — despite the curfew imposing 10pm closing.

     At the time, venues in the capital were subject to strict rules which also required diners to wear masks when moving around in restaurants and a ban on different households mixing at tables.

    But he is said to have breached those curbs too.

    The PM and his wife enjoyed the night out on October 21 last year at Darby’s restaurant, a mile and a half from Downing Street.

    Covid cases in London were on “a steep upward path” with rates doubling every ten days.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Will schools shut again?

    Schools could close again after Christmas if Omicron spirals out of control, Sajid Javid suggested this morning.

    As millions of mums and dads feared being left in the lurch once more the Health Secretary warned: “When it comes to our fight against this pandemic, there are no guarantees.”

    His remarks left parents and pupils fretting after Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi also refused to rule out lessons going back online.

    Boris Johnson has previously said keeping kids in classes is a “national priority” and it’s widely expected schools would be the last to close in any new lockdown.

    But the PM yesterday braced Brits for a “tidal wave” of Omicron as he put rockets under the booster programme.

    Asked on LBC this morning if he could rule out schools shutting, Mr Javid said: “Well, I don’t want to see that or any of these kinds of measures. I’m just going to focus on everything else we need to be doing, especially the booster programme.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    PM declines to rule out further restrictions ahead of Xmas

    Mr Johnson repeatedly declined to rule out further coronavirus restrictions ahead of Christmas as he said the goal is to offer a booster to every adult by the end of the year.

    There has been confusion over whether people will be guaranteed a jab by December 31.

    NHS England says by that date, everyone will have been offered the chance to book a booster.

  • Joseph Gamp

    First UK Omicron death confirmed

    At least one person in the UK has died with the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Boris Johnson has said, as he refused to rule out tighter restrictions ahead of Christmas.

    Speaking during a visit to a vaccination clinic near Paddington in west London, the Prime Minister said: "Sadly, yes, Omicron is producing hospitalisations and sadly at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron.

    "So I think the idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus, I think that's something we need to set on one side and just recognise the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population. So the best thing we can do is all get our boosters."

    It came after Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the Government will "throw everything at" the booster programme to tackle Omicron, which is spreading fast across the UK.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Concerns Government 'has left door open to school closures'

    Conservative former Cabinet minister Esther McVey (Tatton) raised concerns the Government "has left the door open to school closures after the Christmas recess".

    She said: "However it seems that the Government has left the door open to school closures after the Christmas recess, so can I ask what specific conditions would need to be met for schools not to open in the New Year?"

    Sajid Javid replied: "The risk that we see from Omicron at this point in time with the rise in infections, the increased risk of hospitalisation, the information we have on the vaccines, we think we have taken the appropriate response.

    "It's a balanced and measured set of response(s), it is designed to protect so much that we love in our country, especially the interests of our children, the most important thing now to focus on is the booster programme."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Brighton also experiencing Covid outbreak

    Brighton are the latest Premier League club to suffer an outbreak of Covid-19.

    Manager Graham Potter has revealed there are "three or four" positive tests among his playing squad, but their match with Wolves on Wednesday is not currently under threat.

    Albion's game against Tottenham was postponed at the weekend due to positive cases among the Spurs squad.

    "We've got a combination of injuries and a bit of Covid ourselves," said Potter.

    "We've got three or four, I would say, at the moment. And obviously that's something we have to deal with, like everybody else.

    "Now we're just checking and making sure it's at that number."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Covid outbreak at Man U puts Brentford clash in doubt

    Manchester United's Premier League match away to Brentford is at risk of postponement after the club closed their Carrington training ground for 24 hours due to a number of positive Covid-19 tests.

    United are in talks with the league over whether it is now safe for them to travel to the Brentford Community Stadium on Tuesday night.

    It emerged on Sunday that a small number of players and staff – reportedly four – had returned positive lateral flow tests following the 1-0 win over Norwich on Saturday evening, with those results confirmed by PCR tests a day later.

    "Manchester United can confirm that following PCR test confirmation of yesterday's positive LFT Covid-19 cases among the first-team staff and players, the decision has been taken to close down first-team operations at the Carrington Training Complex for 24 hours, to minimise risk of any further infection," a club statement said.

    "Individuals who tested positive are isolating per Premier League protocols.

    "Given cancellation of training and disruption to the squad, and with the health of players and staff the priority, the club is in discussion with the Premier League whether it is safe for Tuesday's fixture against Brentford to continue, both from a Covid infection and player preparation perspective.Team and staff travel to London will be deferred pending the result of that discussion."

  • John Hall

    Major change coming into play tomorrow

    MAJOR change in England’s testing rules comes into effect tomorrow to beat the Omicron Covid variant. 

    The move will prevent a "winter pingdemic", whereby millions of people are forced into self-isolation on a precautionary basis.

    Currently the rules state that people who are contacts of someone with the super-fast spreading Omicron variant have to self-isolate.

    But from Tuesday, this will be scrapped and double-jabbed people identified as a contact of someone with Covid will be told to take a daily rapid test for seven days instead.

    The lateral flow tests, which give results in less than 30 minutes, can be ordered for free online and sent to your home address, or picked up from a pharmacy.

    However, all packs of Covid tests have been stripped clean from the official site, as people rushed to order in stocks ahead of Christmas.

  • John Hall

    Lateral flow tests RUN OUT

    All packs of Covid tests have been stripped clean from the official site, as people rushed to order in stocks ahead of Christmas.

    New rules means that from tomorrow anyone who has been in contact with someone carrying the variant Omicron must test daily using a LFT for seven days.

    And Brits have once more been encouraged to test themselves twice a week, or before going to any events, to make sure they aren't carrying the virus.

    But people trying to order the packs have today been told: "There are no more home tests available.

    "Try again later. Or, you can go back and try to book a test site appointment instead."

  • John Hall

    How Omicron impacts boosters

    The discovery of a new variant of concern, Omicron has pushed the government to change the rules in the UK.

    Face masks and coverings are once again mandatory in shops and on public transport, with people encouraged to work from home.

    Last night Brits were also told they would be getting their booster jabs early – but that they could not have it less than three months after their second dose.

    A promising study found vaccines do work to stop the spread of Omicron.

    Brits have been urged by medical experts as well as ministers to come forward and get their Covid vaccines as well as their booster doses.

  • John Hall

    Who can book a booster?

    Only those who had their second coronavirus vaccine dose three months ago are eligible for a booster shot, because immunity starts to wane at this point.

    People who will be invited for a booster now includes all over-18s, and:

    • people aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from Covid
    • people aged 16 and over who are a main carer for someone at high risk from Covid
    • people aged 16 and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)

    How to book your booster vaccine

    You may be called forward by your local GP, or hospital trust, but the most likely option is the NHS will announce or let you know your age group can book in.

    Then you need to go to the dedicated NHS booking site to find a location and time slot that works for you.

    When you book your jab, you’ll only need to select a time and day for one slot – unlike booking the first and second dose when you were asked to book them both at once.

    If you have recently had coronavirus then you should wait four weeks before booking your appointment. 

    To book your appointment you need to click the green “book now” button.

    If you have your NHS number it will make it a little bit faster to book, if not you then have to fill out all of your personal details.

    People can also book by calling 119.

    Omicron patients (Continued…)

    The Health Secretary couldn't say whether any of the patients with the new Covid strain are seriously ill.

    He also didn't specify whether catching Omicron was the cause of their hospitalisation.

    Mr Javid did confirm there haven't yet been any deaths as a result of of it.

    But he added: "There is always a lag between infection and then hospitalisation and then, sadly, death."

    Ten Omicron patients in UK hospitals

    THERE are now 10 people in hospitals in England who have tested positive for the Omicron variant, Sajid Javid said today.

    The health secretary made the announcement as he launched a "new national mission" to get a million boosters in arms every day.

    He warned the new Covid variant is now spreading at a "phenomenal rate" and is doubling every two to three days.

    There have been around 3,000 confirmed cases of Omicron in England.

    Mr Javid said it already accounts for 40% of new cases in London and will become the UK's dominant strain shortly.

    The health secretary said two jabs "don't work" against the new strain but that "three do" as he urged Brits to get their boosters.

    • John Hall

      Cold-like symptoms

      Omicron may only cause minor cold-like symptoms even in the elderly — as long as they have been jabbed, a top scientist says.

      Despite being highly ­contagious, initial studies indicate the new strain does not often lead to serious disease like the Delta variant.

      Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College London, examined UK Omicron super-spreader events involving older people — and found the patients mainly suffered “sniffles”.

      He said: “What we’re seeing so far is that symptoms are very, very mild.

      “Most of my information comes from one big event, a 60th birthday party where 18 people aged 60 to 75 spent the night together in a hotel.

      "Most of them had symptoms of a cold — sniffles, sore throat and fatigue were common.

      "Only two had classic symptoms of Covid, fever and loss of smell or taste.

      “Nobody had to see their doctor or go to hospital.”

    • John Hall

      NHS booster website crashes

      The website has crashed as millions of Brits rush to get their booster jab following Boris Johnson's Omicron warnings last night.

      Those trying to book their third vaccination online have been told since 8pm yesterday that the site is "currently experiencing technical difficulties".

      After being placed in a 'queue', many users found they were unable to access the booking form at all.

      The site also showed repeated error messages and 'bad gateway requests'.

      Some who tried for hours to book their jab described it as "harder than getting Glastonbury tickets".

    • John Hall

      Routine appointments might be scrapped

      The huge booster drive will mean NHS chiefs are forced to scrap some routine appointments to get all hands to the deck to get 19million jabs in arms before the end of the year.

      But the PM warned that if the jab rollout isn't ramped up now, it could mean a wave of Omicron infections "so big" that cancellations and disruptions such as the loss of cancer appointments "would be even greater next year".

    • John Hall

      Boris Johnson addressed the nation last night

      The PM told the nation last night: "Today we are launching the Omicron Emergency Boost – a national mission unlike anything we have done before in the vaccination programme – to Get Boosted Now.

      "A fortnight ago I said we would offer every eligible adult a booster by the end of January.

      "Today, in light of this Omicron Emergency, I am bringing that target forward by a whole month.

      "Everyone eligible aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their booster before the New Year."

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