Crunch Cobra meeting to decide on extra lockdown measures happening in HOURS

A CRUNCH time Cobra meeting is set to go ahead this afternoon as leaders from across the UK decide on extra lockdown measures.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid today warned he could not rule out a festive clampdown as Omicron cases surge through Britain.

England was last night warned it faced an abrupt Covid crackdown after Boxing Day under new plans being drawn up in Whitehall.

But Mr Javid's latest comments, along with calls from doom-mongering scientists to introduce an immediate crackdown, will leave plenty for ministers to thrash out this afternoon.

Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford are expected to join Whitehall ministers for the emergency talks at 5pm.

It is understood neither Boris Johnson nor Rishi Sunak will be at the meeting, set to be chaired instead by Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay.

Mr Barclay is expected to brief the UK's devolved leaders, as well as Labour, on the latest data and the Government's next steps.

The Sun is urging readers to sign up to the Jabs Army campaign to make the rollout as smooth and fast as possible.

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A booster shot is the best protection against Omicron, with early data suggesting it pushes efficacy back up to 75 per cent.

Dr Jenny Harries, UKHSA Chief Executive said: “Once again, we urge everyone who is able to get a booster jab to come forward and do so. It is the best defence we have against this highly transmissible new variant."

Thousands of Brits have already signed up to the campaign, helping to dish out nearly one million jabs in just one day.

Sajid Javid confirmed a record 906,656 jabs were delivered across the country yesterday – including more than 830,000 boosters.

It comes after 90,418 daily Covid cases were reported yesterday — with Omicron cases up another 10,059 to 24,968 in total.

And Sage members have told the government that waiting until after December 25 to impose Covid measures is not an option if ministers want to stop the NHS being overwhelmed.

🔵 Read our Covid-19 live blog for the latest updates

They expect more than 3,000 hospitalisations a day come January, with daily infections and deaths on the rise.

Earlier today the Health Secretary warned there were "no guarantees" when asked about a festive clampdown – despite Boris Johnson insisting he would not shut the country down.

If a two-week crackdown was introduced, it would mean millions of Brits would be forced into another miserable Christmas, reminiscent of last year's glum affair.

Mr Javid said: "There are no guarantees in this pandemic.

"At this point we just have to keep everything under review."

Mark Drakeford announced this week he would bring in tighter restrictions for Wales on December 27, adding they will be a “strengthened set of reasonable measures which will include returning to the two-metre rule for social distancing”. 

Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon urged Scots to stay at home to help limit the Omicron spread.

It comes after Sage scientists held emergency talks on Thursday to discuss the pending crisis.

Minutes from the meeting, released on Saturday, revealed that indoor mixing is "the biggest risk factor" when it comes to viral transmission.

It also suggested "reducing group sizes, increasing physical distancing, reducing duration of contacts and closing high-risk premises" to curb the spread – despite the speedy rollout of the booster vaccines.

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