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UK Health Boss: COVID-19 Rules Could Tighten By Christmas

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Shoppers walk along Oxford Street, Europe's busiest shopping street, in London, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. Soaring infections in Britain driven in part by the omicron variant of the coronavirus are rattling Europe. The renewed spread prompted new restrictions on the Continent and fueled a familiar dread on both sides of the Atlantic about entering a new phase of the pandemic just in time for the holidays. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

(AP) — Britain’s health secretary has refused to rule out imposing tougher COVID-19 restrictions before Christmas amid the rapid rise of infections and continuing uncertainty about the omicron variant.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said Sunday that the government was assessing the fast-moving situation and urged the public to be cautious as scientists examine the data. He told the BBC that much is still unknown about the new highly transmissible omicron variant, even as hospitals brace for a surge in infections.

Britain has ramped up delivering booster shots to counter omicron. Some vaccination sites are operating 24 hours a day to deliver vaccine shots. But the British Medical Association is warning that almost 50,000 health care workers could be sick with COVID-19 by Christmas.

 

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