What Are the Three Scenarios UK PM Johnson May Choose to Curb the Fast Spreading Omicron?

© AFP 2022 / TOLGA AKMENPeople queue to enter an NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre in Westfield Stratford City shopping centre in east London on February 15, 2021 as Britain's largest ever vaccination programme continues. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Britain hitting a target of inoculating 15 million of the most vulnerable people with a first coronavirus jab "a significant milestone", as the country prepared for the next phase of its vaccination programme. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP)
People queue to enter an NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre in Westfield Stratford City shopping centre in east London on February 15, 2021 as Britain's largest ever vaccination programme continues. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Britain hitting a target of inoculating 15 million of the most vulnerable people with a first coronavirus jab a significant milestone, as the country prepared for the next phase of its vaccination programme. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.12.2021
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This month, the government introduced new restrictions in order to tackle the spread of the Omicron strain of COVID-19. Yet, scientists who have been advising authorities since the start of the pandemic, have insisted more measures are needed to curb infection rates, warning that a failure to adopt them might result in a daily death toll of 6,000.
As UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that authorities "reserve the possibility" of imposing new safety measure in England in response to rising COVID-19 cases, the British media has revealed three scenarios, ranging in severity from low to high, given to the PM by government advisers.
Option One: Mild Restrictions

Authorities will issue a guidance asking individuals to limit indoor contacts. Such measures have already been introduced in Wales and in Scotland where officials have asked people to socialise less, especially when they are seeing older or vulnerable people.

Because this is just guidance and not a legally enforced rule Downing Street would not need to recall parliament to vote on the proposal and can simply make an announcement.
Option Two: Christmas is Spoiled, But Not Cancelled

This scenario would see the government reintroduce the so-called rule of six, which bans any social gatherings of more than six people both indoors and outdoors. Police will be allowed to disperse and fine individuals. Different households would be limited or banned from mixing. Curfews will be introduced for pubs and restaurants.

Experts say it is unlikely that the government will go with this scenario before Christmas as they will need parliament to vote on it. It will take 48 hours to recall parliament and people across the the United Kingdom have already started travelling to visit friends and family.
Option Déjà vu: Lockdown

This scenario too is unlikely to happen before Christmas as it needs to be approved by parliament. All non-essential businesses will be closed. People would be ordered to stay home and permitted to leave only to travel to work if it is necessary, to visit a doctor, or to purchase groceries. Individuals could be permitted to leave home for outdoor recreation or meet people from their so-called support bubble as during the previous lockdowns. Yet, given that the Omicron variant is highly contagious it is highly unlikely that the government would make these exceptions.

According to local media outlets, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now between the hammer and the anvil. On the one hand, the group of scientists who have been advising the government since the start of the pandemic, have urged authorities to act swiftly and introduce new restrictions to curb the spread of Omicron.

They note that the safety measures that went on into effect on 8 December are insufficient to stop the new strain and a failure bring in new rules will result in the number of daily hospitalisations jumping to between 3,000 and 10,000, while the daily death toll might reach 6,000. On Monday, the United Kingdom recorded over 91,000 new infections, the second-highest number of cases since the pandemic began.
On the other hand, are MPs and ministers who have voiced their opposition to restrictive measures. According to The Daily Telegraph, Tory lawmakers threatened the prime minister with a no-confidence vote, while one minister said they would resign in protest if new safety rules are introduced.

Per local media, Boris Johnson will eschew introducing new restrictions before Christmas and will likely announce them after the holidays, somewhere around the New Year. Sky News writes, citing its sources, that MPs will be recalled to vote on new safety rules on 29 December.
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