Government 'will do what is necessary' to stop Omicron, health secretary says

Health Secretary Sajid Javid meets staff during a visit to a coronavirus vaccination clinic at the G

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government "will do what is necessary" to stop the Omicron variant. Pictured: Mr Javid during a visit to a coronavirus vaccination in London. - Credit: PA

The health secretary says the government will "do what is necessary" when it comes to further Covid measures, as Suffolk MPs are prepared to be recalled to vote on any measures.

Health secretary Sajid Javid told Sky News that the government was discussing the latest coronavirus data almost hourly with scientific advisers as Omicron cases surge.

He said: “We’ve shown in the past as government in dealing with this pandemic that we will do what is necessary but it’s got to be backed up by the data.

“We are watching the data and discussing it with our scientists and our best advisors almost on an hourly basis. And we will monitor that very carefully. We will keep the situation under review.”

Mr Javid added that Parliament would be recalled to vote on any new measures.

He said: “If, and it’s an if, the Prime Minister has already been clear to parliamentarians, if there was a need to take any further action we would recall Parliament and it would have to be a decision for Parliament. That is only right and proper.”

It comes as Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said he and his colleagues were ready to be recalled to Parliament to push through changes changes to restrictions before the new year if necessary.

Dr Poulter said he was "expecting" to be recalled in the gap between Christmas and New Year.

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Tougher restrictions could reportedly be introduced in the face of the rapidly-spreading Omicron variant, after experts warned there are likely already hundreds of thousands of new infections every day.

Stricter measures could be imposed after Boxing Day, according to a report in The Sun newspaper, which said the contingency plan had not yet been presented to ministers.

It comes after scientific advisers to the Government said hospital admissions with the variant in the UK are “probably around one tenth of the true number” due to a lag in reporting.

The “situation update” from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) on Thursday was published on Saturday and said that it is “almost certain that there are now hundreds of thousands of new Omicron infections per day” in England.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a major incident due to the “hugely concerning” surge in cases across the capital, as he voiced fears about staff absences in vital public services including the NHS, the fire service and police due to infection.