UK Covid live: Sajid Javid says Omicron cases doubling every two days as MPs debate plan B restrictions

Only the key events are shown.

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Wes Streeting is responding to Sajid Javid.

The tone of the debate is something he hopes will be reasonable. He said that it should not be up to the opposition to say that the measures do not compare with 1930s Germany. See 9.40am.

He says that Labour is in favor of the measures.

He says that the health service is in a weaker state because of what has happened under the Conservatives, including record waiting lists, 100,000 staff vacancies and more than 100,000 vacancies in social care. He goes on.

The roof was not fixed while the sun was shining, but they dismantled the roof and removed the floorboards, and now the health service is in a race against time, a race against the fastest variant of Covid-19 we have seen.

We were in the Commons yesterday. The UK Parliament is photographed by Jessica Taylor.

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The DfE figures show that one in 30 primary children in England are off school for Covid related reasons.

Richard Adams.

According to the Department for Education, one in every 30 primary school children in England was absent from school last week for Covid related reasons. There were 56,700 off with suspected cases.

The figures show that primary school-aged children are more vulnerable to infections than secondary school children.

Primary school pupils had a lower rate of confirmed Covid cases than secondary school pupils. Before the half-term break, confirmed cases in secondary schools were more than double those in primaries.

The data shows that the number of teachers absent for Covid-related reasons has increased by 2.4% in the last two weeks. Primary schools had the greatest share of those off.

On 9 December, Covid-related absence rose to 2.9%, up from 2.5% on 25 November.

The DfE's absence statistics understate the number of students missing with Covid cases, as they are counted as absent with illness rather than Covid-related. The numbers for confirmed cases issued by the DfE are those with positive results from the flow test.

It was updated at 10.05am.

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It was updated at 10.05am.

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Denis Campbell.

The Omicron variant is spreading so fast that hospitals in England are bracing themselves for a significant surge in Covid patients from next week.

Chris Hopson, the chief executive of the National Health Service Providers, said that Omicron's greater transmissibility means hospitals will have to treat large numbers of patients despite it apparently inducing milder symptoms than the previously dominant Delta strain. He told the parliamentary group about coronaviruses.

There will be a significant impact on the degree of hospitalisations from Omicron. If you have a large number of people who are Omicron-positive, and you know that this variant is more infectious and transmissible than Delta, it doesn't take a large amount of people to get Omicron.
We were already beyond full stretch before winter. I think we will see a lot of hospitalisations in the next couple of weeks.

The health service is already beyond full stretch before winter arrives, Hopson said.

31m ago

Three shadow cabinet ministers tested positive.

At 10.06am, there was a new update.

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The government is considering a case for refunds of red list arrivals.

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The red list arrivals should be released early from the hotel.

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Javid wouldn't support the vaccine-only Covid pass system.

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Javid says that the countries on the red list are being removed because of Omicron.

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Javid says 20% of recorded hospital Covid cases are not in the hospital.