Covid news – live: UK reports record cases amid warning not to ‘throw caution to wind’ at Christmas

Nurses aware Christmas this year could be worse than last, warns RCN

The UK has reported a further 122,186 coronavirus cases, marking the third day in a row that infections have risen by record levels as Omicron variant continues its rapid spread across the country.

It came after separate Office for National Statistics figures suggested that a record 1.7 million people in the UK – and one in 35 in England – had coronavirus last week, with the UK’s national statistician, ONS chief Sir Ian Diamond, warning Britain was on course to see a “continued rise” in cases too.

Figures from this week are due to be released in the days after Christmas, and will be used to help the government determine whether tighter measures are needed. Hospital admissions are also rising.

Meanwhile, thousands of flights were cancelled across the globe on Christmas weekend. Airlines scrapped 2,401 flights on Christmas eve. At least 1,779 flights scheduled for Christmas Day were called off worldwide, along with 402 more that had been scheduled for Sunday.


Elementary trade workers less likely to get vaccine, data shows

People working in construction, building and transport are among those least likely to have received a booster or third dose of Covid-19 vaccine, figures suggest.

An estimated 39.8 per cent employees in skilled construction and building trades in England have had an extra dose, along with 42.6 per cent of plant and machine operatives and 43.9 per cent of transport and mobile machine drivers and operatives.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), suggest that people in what are classed as “elementary trades” – such as packers, bottlers, industrial cleaning or farm and forestry workers – have the lowest take-up at 37.0 per cent.

Occupations with the highest take-up were health professionals (75.3 per cent), health and social care associate professionals (58.7 per cent) and those working in secretarial and related jobs (58.4 per cent).

The figures are based on vaccinations delivered up to 12 December for adults in England aged 40 to 64.

Sam Hancock24 December 2021 10:53

Flights cancelled over Christmas weekend

Commercial airlines around the world cancelled more than 4,500 flights over the Christmas weekend.

A tracking website showed more than 1,700 Christmas Day flights had been called off worldwide, along with 402 more that had been scheduled for Sunday.

Read more about travel chaos here:

Zoe Tidman25 December 2021 07:52

Thouands to get Christmas Day booster jab

Thousands of people across England will receive a Christmas Day booster jab as the NHS vaccination effort continues in the face of record Covid-19 case rates.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid urged people to “make the booster a part of your Christmas this year”, as figures showed the scale of the threat from the Omicron variant.

Read more about the Christmas Day rollout here:

Zoe Tidman25 December 2021 07:40

Spare a thought for the Santas among us this morning, with this report from Gino Spocchia on how Covid has impacted Father Christmases across America.

And for those preparing to splash their children’s hauls across social media this morning, Independent VoicesVictoria Richards has a similar message – one that arguably applies every year, but particularly nearly two years into the pandemic:

Andy Gregory25 December 2021 07:00

Australian state reports record Covid cases on Christmas

New South Wales, the most populous state in Australia, recorded over 6,000 new Covid cases for the first time on Saturday.

The state reported 6,288 new infections, an increase of 676 cases from the previous day and by far the greatest number of cases in any Australian state since the pandemic began.

On Thursday, the state reimposed mask-wearing indoors amid the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar25 December 2021 06:11

Letters | Boris Johnson could learn a thing or two from the bible

Here’s a letter from one of our readers, the Rev Andrew McLuskey from Middlesex, in response to the prime minister’s invocation of the teachings of Jesus Christ to encourage booster jab uptake:

“Boris Johnson has enlisted Jesus in his vaccination drive. No one can object to this. However, if the prime minister is going to start referring to the Good Lord he might consider how far his own populist/nationalist agenda matches that of Jesus.

“As per Luke chapter four, this involved bringing good news to the poor, release for captives, and letting the oppressed go free. In our own context this could well suggest: more adequate benefits for those in need, working more assiduously for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and a stronger commitment to overseas aid.”

In his Christmas message, Mr Johnson said: “Getting jabbed not just for themselves, for ourselves, but for friends and family and everyone we meet.

“And that, after all, is the teaching of Jesus Christ, whose birth is at the heart of this enormous festival, that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves.”

UK PM Boris Johnson urges public to get vaccinated in Christmas address
Andy Gregory25 December 2021 05:55

415 cases of Omicron detected in India so far

India, which was ravaged by the Delta variant-driven second wave in the summer, has reported 415 cases related to the new Omicron variant.

The country’s main financial hub Mumbai in western Maharashtra state has the greatest number of Omicron infections at 108, followed by the national capital Delhi, which has 79 cases.

The country has reported 34,779,815 total Covid cases and 479,520 deaths since the onset of the pandemic.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar25 December 2021 05:31

Let’s hope this news will brighten a few Christmases this morning.

My colleague Andrew Feinberg reports that US president Joe Biden will lift the travel restrictions imposed on eight African countries last month at one minute past midnight on 31 December.

Kevin Munoz, a White House assistant press secretary, said Mr Biden’s decision was recommended by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which was also the agency that recommended he close US airports to incoming travellers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi on 29 November.

Andy Gregory25 December 2021 04:40

Thousands of flights cancelled globally on Christmas weekend

Amid the mounting wave of Covid-19 infections due to the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus across the globe, commercial airlines cancelled over 4,500 flights over the Christmas weekend.

According to flight-tracking website, airlines scrapped at least 2,401 flights on Christmas eve and nearly 10,000 more flights were delayed.

At least 1,779 flights scheduled for Christmas Day were called off worldwide, along with 402 more that had been scheduled for Sunday.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar25 December 2021 04:00

What is a circuit-breaker lockdown?

As cases in the UK continue to skyrocket, reports suggested officials were drawing up plans for the implementation of a circuit-breaker lockdown to combat the alarming rise in cases.

The Financial Times reported that prime minister Boris Johnson was presented with a range of options under a “Plan C”, which ranged from “mild guidance to nudge people, right through to lockdown”.

Grace Almond has more.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar25 December 2021 03:40

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.