The UK government has decided that it will not impose any new restrictions to curb the spread of Omicron before Christmas, despite warnings from scientists that wait until the New Year will “Will almost certainly be too late to have a significant impact on the epidemic”.
In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon announced some new measures on Tuesday, including Cancellation of the street parties in Hogmanay and spectator-free sporting events for the next three weeks.
All Sports events will take place behind closed doors in Wales from December 27th, as well as a two-meter rule on social distancing in offices and nightclub closings.
Three people in England talk about their Christmas plans and how the government is handling the rise of the Omicron variant.
“We need a change of government”
In Worcester, Sharon and her husband John changed their Christmas plans because three family members tested positive for Covid.
“I’m so angry,” said the 60-year-old, who works full-time to look after John, who has motor neuron disease.
With two sons who are teachers and a daughter – another frontline worker – their original plan was to meet family and friends on Christmas Eve, then go to their youngest son’s Christmas brunch, and spend the evening with their eldest son.
Now the couple are just hoping they can see their youngest son and his family on Christmas Day if he is supposed to end his self-isolation.
“If the government had just taken a two-week power cut in early December, frontline workers, especially teachers and children, would not have gone home with Covid,” said Sharon.
She considers the government to be “completely irresponsible” in dealing with the rise in Covid cases and feels “sad and frustrated”.
“I understand that it is our entire responsibility, but it is not appropriate at this point in time. People feel very vulnerable and scared and want support – even if it’s just a clear message from the government, ”she said.
“Watching Tory rebels vote against Plan B measures shows that they don’t care about people. It feels really selfish and inconsiderate, especially with those stories about parties and gatherings. I think we need a change of government. “
“Not knowing if there will be any more restrictions is the worst situation”
Near Lancaster, Melissa and her partner Austin, both in their 50s, are still unsure what to do with their December 29th partnership.
“We have already reduced our number of guests to the family, but we don’t know whether we should cancel completely or continue,” says Melissa, who works in education. “Not knowing if there will be any further restrictions or not is the worst situation you can find yourself in.”
The couple is expecting 25 guests, which means a family mix of four generations. Your venue is flexible if they rearrange their appointment, as is the local refugee café that caters for the evening.
However, they have now passed their 14 day cancellation deadline with registrars so they risk losing around £ 350 if they cancel the event.
“Whatever we decide has an impact on businesses and we don’t want to abandon the people in the supply chain,” she said.
“One plan is to tell everyone that we will let them decide if they want to come, but that does affect the numbers for the venue and catering. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to make a decision to try to take care of everyone.
“I can’t stand Boris Johnson and I think he’s incredibly hypocritical in everything. Unfortunately, Omicron cases are handled like Brexit – the divisions in the Tory party dictate the direction the country is going and I am incredibly sad about it. “
“I fear the thought of a lockdown in January”
Olivia, a graduate student, left London for her parents’ house in Kent on December 18 as Omicron cases in the city were increasing.
“I missed two Christmas parties, but I was scared of having to self-isolate in my house,” said the 28-year-old. “I just plan to get my job done and be with my family without seeing friends.
“I think they should have put some pre-Christmas restrictions, maybe sending kids home” [from school] a little earlier or restrictions for pubs in order to compensate for the increase in falls and to avoid further measures later.
“I fear the thought of a lockdown in January.”
Olivia is concerned about the ambiguity of Covid guidelines in England and believes the government has been “terrible” with Omicron.
“It pissed me off when I got on the train and saw that no one was wearing masks. But the instructions were confusing. “A lot of people I know are cautious – a friend canceled their party and lost £ 250 in the process – but then you see people who don’t take precautions.
“I got in line to get my booster vaccination and it’s frustrating to hear people don’t get vaccinated. There has to be a boost to sting these people. I’ve followed the Covid restrictions up to the T in the past – but I can’t handle another lockdown. “