Boris Johnson defiant he's 'not closing everything down' like last year – but warns Omicron is 'very serious threat'

BORIS Johnson today warned that Omicron is "a very serious threat to us now" – but refused to buckle to doomster demands to lock down.

The PM once again braced Brits for a "considerable wave" of infections over Christmas as the super-strain spreads like wildfire.

More than 11,000 cases of the mutation have been confirmed as the UK yesterday smashed its highest daily case record for the entire pandemic.

The PM has insisted a pincer movement of vaccines and Plan B should help squeeze the super-strain and was the "right approach".

And on a visit to a vaccination centre in his Hillingdon constituency today he stuck to his guns despite facing calls to toughen the measures.

He said: "I've said already that people should be cautious, but what we have also said is that people should decide what they want to do. It is a matter for their personal choice.

"We are not closing things down but we do think that people need to be cautious."

Mr Johnson will wait to decide whether or not to impose more Covid restrictions until after Christmas, his top doc has suggested.

Prof Chris Whitty said it would take a few weeks to determine how successful boosters were in tackling the spread of Omicron.

It came as lockdown-fearing Brits were today warned to get their boosters – or lose their freedoms.

Cabinet Minister Oliver Dowden said the Government has "put its chips on the vaccine programme" rather than impose fresh measures to beat Omicron.

And he was "confident" that if people get their third jab then no new restrictions will be needed over Christmas.

But the Tory chairman warned: "It's only if people get that booster that we can continue with the kind of freedoms that we have."

Boris Johnson has dramatically expanded the booster rollout and called on volunteers like The Sun's Jabs Army to help speed up the blitz.

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Yet he's failed to rule out more restrictions that bosses fear would take a sledge-hammer to business and wreck the economic bounceback.

Prof Whitty yesterday hinted that any toughening of curbs should be decided after Christmas when the effectiveness of vaccines was clearer.

The chief medical officer said there would be more evidence in coming weeks and if it showed that jabs didn't work as well on Omicron "then ministers are clearly going to have to consider what else needs to be done".

Mr Dowden this morning accepted these were "difficult times" forcing ministers to make "difficult decisions".

Speaking on Sky News he said: "I think anyone that pretends any of this is simple or straightforward is pretending.

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"However, I do think right now we have got the balance right. The key thing is the booster.

"Because it's only if people get that booster that we can continue with this kind of freedoms that we have."

But many Brits claim we're already in a "lockdown by stealth" after Prof Whitty's harsh advice to limit social gatherings over the festive period.

Ex-health minister Steve Brine raged: "At a stroke the Chief Medical Officer changed government policy and put this country – certainly hospitality – into effective lockdown".

Tory MP Steve Baker said that while Mr Johnson wasn't closing pubs "formally" the grim warnings had left hospitality fighting to stay open amid a deluge of cancellations.

Firms are crying out for financial support and Rishi Sunak is under pressure to bring back the furlough scheme in the event they are forced to shut.

A new high of 88,376 daily infections was recorded yesterday — but the Government said it will hit its target of a million booster jabs a day by the weekend.

It marks a 74 per cent rise in a week and beat the previous record of 68,000 in January.

Omicron is believed to be doubling every two days with testing struggling to keep up.

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