BORIS Johnson tonight revealed the four key numbers that will determine if England needs more severe restrictions brought in.
He listed the vital figures that would either see Brits plunged further into lockdown, or brought out of measures to curb the spread of Omicron.
People going into hospital with Covid has increased in recent weeks
The doubling time of infections has rapidly increased since the end of November
The Prime Minister said: “[We will be] guided by the hard medical data around four – efficacy of vaccines, severity of Omicron, speed or spread and rate of hospitalisations.
“We will monitor the data and keep it under review and we need to be humble in the face of the virus.
“As soon as it becomes clear boosters are capable of holding Omicron and we have boosted enough then we will be able to move forward as before.”
At a gloomy press conference the PM pulled the trigger on the Government’s Plan B to tackle the rising tide of Omicron cases ripping across Britain.
He announced he was toughening the rules as scientists warned the NHS could be swamped by 1,000 daily patients infected with the super-strain.
Flanked by top docs Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, the PM relayed sobering evidence that the mutation is doubling between every 2.5 and three days.
Giving a Commons statement at the same time Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs there are 568 confirmed cases variant – but the estimated current number is “probably closer to 10,000”.
To stem the spread new rules include:
- Compulsory face masks in all indoor settings from FRIDAY
- Working from home except key workers from MONDAY
- Vaccine passports for crowded venues from NEXT WEDNESDAY
Graphs using the latest data on the spread of the mutant variant show a sharp rise in cases towards the end of November, when Omicron reached Britain’s shores.
The PM said: “We don’t yet know Omicron’s severity, its rate of transmission nor still the effect of our vaccines against it.
“Omicron is spreading far rapidly than its Delta variant.”
He also revealed contacts of Omicron will get daily tests, to make sure they haven’t picked up the bug.
Earlier this week Sajid Javid told MPs the new variant is known to be spreading in the community and could “knock us off our road to recovery”.
Experts say Omicron could become the dominant strain in “weeks rather than months”.
It comes as:
? Read our Omicron variant live blog for the latest news
Scientists warn that up to 1,000 Brits each day could now be catching the highly contagious form of the virus — with new cases doubling every three days.
But having a Pfizer booster jab will protect against the Omicron variant, new data suggests.
The promising findings of initial lab studies come as the Government urges all Brits to get their boosters as soon as they are eligible.
The Sun’s Jab’s Army has called upon all Brits to come forward and have their life-saving shot, with volunteers also needed to drive the rollout.
From Monday the guidance – but not the law – will change asking all but key workers to work remotely as they did from March last year to July’s Freedom Day.
Mr Johnson said: “I know this will be hard for many people, but by reducing your contacts in the workplace, you will help slow transmission.”