Downing Street has reportedly sent the message to people in England that if they are unable to be tested due to lack of availability, they can still go out and celebrate New Year’s Eve, but they just have to “be careful”.
The Prime Minister, senior cabinet members and government advisers have all urged people in recent days to perform lateral flow tests before celebrating to help limit the spread of the Omicron variant. But for a period of time yesterday, no PCR tests were available outside Wales, and pharmacies in the UK admitted there was a “huge” supply problem.
Read more:What then happens when Omicron rises in Wales and the UK reaches Covid record
The Times now reports Boris Johnson for saying people should go out and celebrate New Year’s Eve despite a nationwide shortage of Covid tests and a record number of cases. It quotes “a number 10 source” as saying “people could still go out if they could not secure a test but should exercise caution”.
In Wales, stricter rules and restrictions came into force in Wales on the second day of Christmas with the reintroduction of the “six rule” for pubs and the closure of nightclubs. But no such restrictions exist in England, leaving people free to watch in the new year at a pub, club or elsewhere.
Under the new rules, hospitality companies across Wales demanded ‘answers’ with a pub also arguing that people from Wales would venture across the border to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
You can now have all the necessary news sent directly to your inbox by subscribing to our free WalesOnline newsletter.
It only takes a few seconds to subscribe – just click here, enter your email address and follow the instructions.
An increasing number of New Year’s events are being canceled across Wales along with numerous hospitality venues affected by positive Covid cases forcing them to close.
Some venues have claimed that it could affect their “survival” in the future. Johnson said: “Everyone should enjoy the New Year, but in a careful and sensible way. Take a test, ventilate, think of others, but above all get a booster.”
A Downing Street source said “people should exercise caution and testing is one of several mitigations” and later added: “The government is not telling people not to go out. It’s about personal responsibility. But of course people should get a test where possible. “
Get stories like this directly in your inbox with our newsletters.