Christmas shoppers brush off Omicron fears as they hit the high streets

Christmas shoppers shrug off Omicron’s concerns as they hit main streets – ahead of the crackdown on masks in stores due to be imposed from Monday

  • Christmas shoppers flooded the markets and city centers of Leeds, Bristol and Newcastle this afternoon
  • Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that England will transition to his Covid B plan from Monday
  • Thousands flocked to buy gifts on the penultimate Saturday before Christmas Day before the restrictions

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Britons went out in their thousands for Christmas shopping today, many of whom were seen wearing face coverings ahead of a crackdown on masks set to be imposed from Monday.

Shoppers swarmed the streets of Leeds, Bristol and Newcastle this afternoon with some caution to avoid catching Covid amid concerns about the rampant spread of the mutant Omicron variant.

Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that England will move to its Covid Plan B – including the mandatory wearing of masks in all indoor public places other than pubs and restaurants – from next week in order to prevent a surge in cases fueled by the new strain that is becoming overwhelming on the NHS. .

Thousands flocked to markets and crowded city centers to buy gifts on the penultimate Saturday before Christmas Day ahead of the new restrictions.

Bristol: Today’s shoppers are enjoying the Christmas Market in downtown Bristol. Most of them were seen wearing face masks before the new restrictions take effect on Monday

Newcastle: Crowds of shoppers gather on Northumberland Street this afternoon on the penultimate shopping day of the Saturday before Christmas

Newcastle: Crowds of shoppers gather on Northumberland Street this afternoon on the penultimate shopping day of the Saturday before Christmas

Leeds:

Leeds:

Images show shoppers walking shoulder to shoulder on busy Northumberland Street in Newcastle this afternoon.

From Monday, all adults will be required to wear face masks in indoor public spaces unless they are exempt, eating, exercising or singing.

They will also have to show evidence of vaccination or a negative test within the past 24 hours to enter large scale clubs and events.

The new rules, which have been criticized by Tory MPs, also direct people to work from home where possible.

Newcastle: Shoppers roamed the streets this afternoon but were careful to avoid catching Covid amid concerns about the rampant spread of the mutant Omicron

Newcastle: Shoppers roamed the streets this afternoon but were careful to avoid catching Covid amid concerns about the rampant spread of the mutant Omicron

Newcastle: Shoppers walk shoulder to shoulder on busy Northumberland Street in Newcastle this afternoon

Newcastle: Shoppers walk shoulder to shoulder on busy Northumberland Street in Newcastle this afternoon

But experts have warned England could see more Covid-19 hospital admissions this winter than last year even with the new restrictions in place.

Modeling by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) suggests the strain could cause between 25,000 and 75,000 deaths in England over the next five months and more hospitalizations in January than last year.

The researchers – who also sit on the Spi-M SAGE modeling subgroup advising No. 10 – said restrictions similar to phase two of the roadmap out of lockdown, which includes banning indoor social contact in bars and restaurants, may be needed to stop the NHS becoming overwhelmed. .

They suggested that these measures be introduced on “Boxing Day” to stem the tide of admissions and deaths, and added that increasing the implementation of the boost to the government’s target of 500,000 per day would do little to limit losses.

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