HOSPITALS could be so overwhelmed with omicron by the middle of January some could be forced to SHUT, the Cabinet were warned today.
Ministers were given a bombshell warning this morning that so many of Britain's army of NHS doctors and nurses will be off sick by around January 15 that people will be have to turned away, The Sun understands.
Brits have been urged to come forward and get their booster jabs as soon as possible to protect everyone from picking up the new variant.
But even under the most conservative estimates on the spread of omicron, there won't be enough people to treat those who will desperately need help.
They reckon so many will need oxygen to help, even if they aren't in intensive care, with not enough people to dish it out.
Just ten people are in hospital with omicron at the moment.
The PM and Chris Whitty told virtual cabinet this morning that even on “the most conservative” estimates things are looking “very bad” when it comes to cases.
The news will fuel fears that even more lockdown measures could be needed to curb the spread – as ministers have repeatedly said shutting down was to protect the NHS and stop it from being overwhelmed completely.
The PM warned his top team this morning that a "huge spike" of omicron was on the way.
One source described the gloomy briefing as "bleak".
Ministers were told to get out there and make the case to colleagues today as the PM faces a crunch vote on vaccine passports this afternoon.
They were also warned that some shops, restaurants and pubs will have to close too – again due to staff being overwhelmed with Covid.
The new variant is even more transmissible meaning hundreds of thousandspeople are catching it.
No10 are stressing that there are "no plans" for any further restrictions at the moment.
Downing Street were approached for comment.
It came as the UK Health and Security Agency's boss, Susan Hopkins, says restrictions will have to stay in place for up to two months if Omicron modelling is right.
She said "we would need some level of restrictions in place for the next four to eight weeks" – which is beyond the review period at the start of January when ministers have vowed to look at it again.
It came as:
- Gloomy government sources warned pubs could be ordered to close to stop omicron spreading
- Brits queued for hours for the second day running in a race to get their booster jab
- More than one in five Tory MPs will vote against Boris Johnson today as a brutal rebellion on vaccine passports hit 80
- Deputy PM Dominic Raab today insisted Brits will be able to "enjoy" the festive period with their families but also wouldn't rule out new restrictions
A government source said: “You will be able to see your family at Christmas, but at this rate, you might not be able to do it in a pub.
"As for New Year’s Eve, that is a different story.”
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But MPs privately warn they will torpedo any attempts to bring in former restrictions like the Rule of Six or a ban on household mixing.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid insisted there were “no plans” for any more measures, as the Omicron variant was poised to become the dominant strain of Covid in London and it claimed its first victim.
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