MP expects Commons recall amid speculation of more Covid restrictions

Dr Dan Poulter

Dr Dan Poulter expects to return to Parliament after Christmas to vote on more Covid measures. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Suffolk MPs are ready to return to parliament just after Christmas as speculation mounts that the government could bring in more Covid restrictions.

The Prime Minister has pledged that there would be another Commons vote before any more restrictions are imposed - but speculation is mounting that the huge rise in Omicron-variant cases could force the introduction of "Plan C" regulations.

Restrictions "similar in scale to the national lockdown" are needed to keep hospital admissions from coronavirus below previous peaks, experts have warned.

Amid high numbers of cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, documents released by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) on Saturday revealed the bleak picture painted by advisers throughout December as the threat from the strain rose.

Advice included that indoor mixing is the "biggest risk factor" for the spread of the variant of coronavirus, and that large gatherings risked creating "multiple spreading events".

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 before the New Year.

He said: "I've been talking about this with Peter (Aldous, Waveney MP) and we're expecting to have to go up possibly on December 28 if things continue to look as bad as this.

"In some places, particularly London, there is real pressure starting to hit hospitals. It has really increased over the last five to seven days as the number of cases have taken off."

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The official hospital statistics issued every day are always five days old so those numbers would not be showing yet.

He added: "We are now seeing real concern about those being admitted. Until now those who were coming in were almost all unvaccinated, very old, or with immunodeficiency problems.

"That's now changing. We are seeing more people in their 60s coming in and clearly there are concerns.

"Many hospitals are now having to put off routine work to clear the way for more Covid patients coming in - and they are already behind on this because of the problems over the  last two years."

Dr Poulter said he and Mr Aldous would support any measures that were necessary to protect the NHS.

He said: "What some people don't seem to realise is that even if this variant does have milder symptoms - which is by no means certain - the speed with which it is spreading means that the number of hospital cases will rise very rapidly.

"There may be a smaller proportion of cases ending up in hospital - but it will be a smaller proportion of a much greater number."

Projections from government scientists have suggested that the number of cases ending up in hospital could hit 3,000 a day early in the new year - last January the highest single day figure was 4,500 and the most recent figures show 900 admissions a day.