- Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

Boris Johnson: No COVID Lockdown in UK Before Christmas, Maybe After

© REUTERS / TOM NICHOLSONThe door of 10 Downing Street is decorated with Christmas decorations in London, Britain, November 28, 2021
The door of 10 Downing Street is decorated with Christmas decorations in London, Britain, November 28, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.12.2021
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Earlier, reports emerged in the UK media suggesting that the Conservative Party warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson of a no-confidence vote in the event of a government decision to introduce additional measures to curb the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday that No. 10 would not be introducing new coronavirus restrictions before Christmas, but said that the government cannot rule out any further measures after 25 December.

"We don't think today that there is enough evidence to justify any tougher measures before Christmas", Johnson said. "We continue to monitor Omicron very closely and if the situation deteriorates we will be ready to take action if needed".

The idea of additional coronavirus restrictions did not evoke much enthusiasm among Conservative lawmakers. More than 100 of them last week voted against the introduction of new COVID-19 rules, and earlier reports suggested that MPs had even warned Johnson of a possible no-confidence vote should he introduce the restrictions.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a news conference, in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.12.2021
PM Johnson Reportedly Warned of No-Confidence Vote If Measures to Tackle Omicron Introduced
Earlier on Tuesday, the UK government announced a one billion pound ($1.3 billion) package to help the hospitality and leisure sector cope with the wave of cancellations and “reduced footfall” prompted by the rapid spreading of the Omicron variant in England ahead of Christmas.
Even in light of no additional restrictions being introduced before the holidays, UK Cabinet Office Minister Steve Barclay advised people to celebrate Christmas in a "cautious way" to tackle the new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent the imposition of new coronavirus rules later.
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