COVID: How Omicron may change your Christmas plan

The new COVID-19 variant Omicron may become as dominant as the Delta strain in the UK.

Boris Johnson may impose further coronavirus limitations as Christmas approaches, after warning his cabinet about the Omicron variant. On Tuesday morning, December 7, Boris Johnson warned his Cabinet that the Omicron mutation is more infectious and spreading faster than the Delta variety that put the UK on lockdown last winter.

There are currently 437 cases of the Omicron variant in the UK. Further, the Health Secretary has claimed on Monday night that community transmission is occurring in several regions of the country. Reportedly, Britain could apply harsher COVID-19 measures, including advice to work from home, as early as Thursday to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.

Next dominant variant

Similar to how Delta ravaged the UK last winter, the variation might swiftly become the dominant strain in the UK. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson confirmed:

The Prime Minister said it was too early to draw conclusions on the characteristics of Omicron but early indications were that it is more transmissible than Delta.

Further, even scientists have warned that there is a higher risk of reinfection with this variant. With the way reinfections have been becoming a trend in this variant, the Omicron variant may be resistant to some aspects of immunity that we will have to protect ourselves. Before the winter, the government announced its plan B actions, which it would use if the transmission needs to be slowed in the coming months.

Plan B

If Plan B limits are implemented, several changes will occur. Some of which are already into place, for instance, face masks have yet again become mandatory on public transportation and in stores in England. However, existing guidelines do not force anyone living in England to work from home, and vaccine passports have not yet been implemented—though they are being considered for larger venues and events.

The government is currently focusing on distributing booster vaccines to as many British people as possible, with 20 million already provided. Any additional adjustments would be disclosed by December 16 as the Parliament reviews plans before the holiday break. A NERVTAG adviser, Professor Andrew Pollard, advised ministries to execute Plan B and said:

I get a sense of Deja-vu in terms of we can see that the indicators that we have so far suggest that there will be a substantial wave which will also be associated with an increase in hospitalisations.
That's likely to get worse. It seems that we kind of have to wait for things to get very, obviously worse before we'll move into Plan B. And I do wonder, you know, we've got a plan B for these sorts of situations, why we're being quite so reluctant to enact it.
COVID: UK considering much tougher Plan C to fight spike in COVID cases COVID: UK considering much tougher Plan C to fight spike in COVID cases