New coronavirus restrictions are introduced in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as the country’s leaders try to tackle the rise in Covid cases, but English politicians are unlikely to discuss any news measurements before Monday.
From Boxing Day, a maximum of six people will be allowed to meet in pubs, cinemas and restaurants in Wales.
A total of 30 people will be allowed at indoor events while 50 people will be allowed at outdoor events.
Social distancing of two meters is required in public premises and offices, and nightclubs will close.
The rules, in effect from 6 a.m., are a revised version of alert level two.
In Scotland, large events will have a physical distance of one meter and will be limited to 100 people standing indoors, 200 people seated indoors and 500 people outdoors.
A day later, up to three households can meet with a distance of one meter between groups in indoor and outdoor places like bars, restaurants, theaters, cinemas and gymnasiums.
Table service is also necessary in places where alcohol is served.
Northern Ireland also has restrictions on Boxing Day and on December 27 indoor standing events are no longer allowed and nightclubs are closing.
Socialization will be reduced to three households, while up to six people can meet in pubs, bars and restaurants. Ten people will be allowed if they are from the same household. Only table service will be available.
A two-meter social distancing rule will be implemented in public premises and offices.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has yet to announce new rules for England, but has indicated he will not hesitate to act after Christmas if necessary amid growing cases of the Omicron variant.
The government may choose to issue new voluntary guidelines on limiting contact rather than risking another damaging Tory rebellion by reminding Parliament to impose new rules beyond existing Plan B measures.
It is understood that a Covid O meeting has not yet been scheduled as ministers await new data, but No 10 did not rule out the possibility of a meeting taking place on Monday.
However, it is understood that the closure of schools is not envisaged for January.
A source close to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “The Prime Minister and Nadhim are fully committed to keeping schools open, and there is a common commitment within government to do so.
“Education is a top priority and school closures are not being considered. “
Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 Conservative MPs committee, told the Observer it was “time to move on from the lazy assumption that government has the right to control our lives”, adding that the British should ” take responsibility for their own lives once again ”.
Charles Walker, a former vice-chairman of the committee, told the newspaper he hoped emerging data would support the continuation of the current course of action.
“I think the Prime Minister has done extremely well to weigh the information, to keep his cool and to get us to this point,” he added.
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