British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday (20 December) he would tighten coronavirus curbs to slow the spread of the Omicron variant if needed, after the Netherlands began a fourth lockdown and as other European nations consider Christmas restrictions.
Speaking after UK media reported Britain might impose new curbs after Christmas, Johnson said the situation was “extremely difficult” and hospitalisations were rising steeply in London.
“I have to say to the British public, and I say to everybody, we will not exclude the possibility of going further if we have to do things to protect the public,” Johnson said after a cabinet meeting.
Omicron infections are multiplying rapidly across Europe and the United States, doubling every two or three days in London and elsewhere and taking a heavy toll on financial markets, which fear the impact on the global economic recovery.
The variant was first detected last month in southern Africa and Hong Kong and so far been reported in at least 89 countries. The severity of illness it causes remains unclear.