UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Photograph:( Reuters )
Prime Minister has rejected a harsher virus restriction over Christmas in England, despite an unusual surge of cases linked to the Omicron virus
On Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraged the public to get vaccinated on Christmas Eve as a "wonderful" gift for the nation as cases soar.
Boris Johnson said that although little time remained to buy Christmas gifts, "there is still a wonderful thing you can give your family and the whole country... and that is to get that jab, whether it is your first or second, or your booster".
Prime Minister Johnson has rejected a harsher virus restriction over Christmas in England, despite an unusual surge of cases linked to the Omicron variant of coronavirus. As of now, he is focused on a campaign to provide booster shots to all adults by the end of the year.
As the UK set a new record of almost 120,000 cases in 24 hours on Thursday, he admitted that "after two years of this pandemic, I can't say that we are through it".
Last year, Johnson imposed a stay-at-home order on London and southeast England on December 19, which meant millions of people had to change their holiday plans.
This year he chose not to tighten rules, stating in his message, that "for millions of families up and down the country, I hope and believe that this Christmas is, and will be, significantly better than the last".
While encouraging people to enjoy a jolly family Christmas, he cautioned them to test themselves prior to meeting vulnerable relatives.
If the pile of wrapping paper is bigger than last year due to more family members attending, it's because of the vaccine rollout, he stressed.
Additionally, he said that getting a vaccine complied with Jesus Christ's teaching that "we should love our neighbour as we love ourselves".
Reports of parties held by Downing Street and other government departments during lockdown periods have hurt Johnson's popularity, and his party lost a by-election in a previously safe seat this month.
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Several of his own party members have also revolted against recent Covid measures, particularly the requirement to show Covid passes to enter crowded venues like nightclubs, which they perceive as violating personal freedom.
Parliament as a whole passed the measure, despite the opposition of almost 100 Conservative MPs.
(With inputs from agencies)