Leaked minutes from a SAGE meeting said restrictions are needed ‘very soon’

Source: Daily Mail

Plans for a two-week circuit breaker after Christmas with a ban on indoor mixing are being drawn up, it emerged last night.

Leaked minutes of a meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) warn that restrictions are needed ‘very soon’ to avoid hospitalizations rising to 3,000 a day.

During the meeting on Thursday, the experts backed a ban on indoor social contact and hospitality.

In what could be a blow to Britons planning New Year parties, they want fresh measures to come in before January 1.

‘The timing of such measures is crucial,’ said the minutes, seen by the BBC.

‘Delaying until 2022 would greatly reduce the effectiveness of such interventions and make it less likely that these would prevent considerable pressure on health and care settings.’ 

Whitehall officials are preparing draft regulations that would ban meeting others indoors except for work purposes, and pubs and restaurants would be limited to outdoor service only, reported The Times. 

According to the Sage minutes, the advisers recommended moving back to restrictions set down in Step One and Two of the roadmap out of lockdown in the spring, which involved a ban on indoor social contact and indoor hospitality.

They warned that solely sticking to Plan B could lead to ‘at least’ 3,000 hospital admissions a day in England. Admissions have been between 800 and 900 a day in the past week. Introducing these measures early enough ‘could substantially reduce the peak in hospital admission and infections compared with Plan B alone’, the minutes said.

Boris Johnson was presented with several options yesterday for a so-called Plan C, ranging from ‘mild guidance to nudge people, right through to lockdown’, according to the Financial Times.

Ministers will decide this weekend whether any new Covid restrictions are needed following the latest dire warnings from scientists.

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