Coronavirus latest as officials reportedly consider two-week lockdown; Boris Johnson presented with Plan C options; SAGE warns tougher COVID restrictions must be brought in “very soon”; weekend football fixtures postponed.
The officers were injured at a protest in Parliament Square, London, while attempting to escort a police motorcyclist through the area at around 12.30pm.
Footage from the protest shows shoving between police and protesters.
At around 3pm, a group of demonstrators also stopped outside a shop on Regents Street and began “directing abuse” at people inside.
The group egged the shop until police intervened.
Police are now “closely monitoring” the demonstration but no arrests have been made yet.
More than 800,000 booster or third doses have been administered in the last day – taking the total to more than 27 million.
Meanwhile, a further 32,099 first vaccine doses have been handed out – along with 41,221 second jabs.
Infections are slightly down on the 93,045 reported yesterday, although figures are usually lower at the weekend.
Earlier, we reported that 10,059 confirmed Omicron cases were reported in the last 24 hours – although the true figure is likely to be higher.
The health secretary has shared a video from Chelsea FC’s grounds, which has been turned into a vaccine centre this weekend.
He said it was “great to see thousands of people coming forward” – including his daughter, who was given a booster jab at the stadium.
High streets in the Netherlands became busy this afternoon following reports the country is likely to go into a strict lockdown from tomorrow.
Under the expected measures, non-essential shops, hairdressers and gyms will be closed between tomorrow and 14 January.
The main shopping street in Leiden has been thronged with people looking for last-minute gifts, with some stores experiencing queues outside.
“It’s normally busy before Christmas but this much busier than usual,” cosmetics shop manager Ali Windster told Reuters news agency.
Authorities in the port city of Rotterdam also urged shoppers on Twitter to stay at home because the city centre was “too busy”.
A news conference announcing the tougher restrictions is expected this evening.
England is seeing Omicron infections doubling every two days – faster than the growth rate in March 2020 – according to the latest minutes from a meeting of government scientists.
SAGE said it is now “almost certain” there are hundreds of thousands of new Omicron infections a day – much higher than the reported figures.
Even if transmission is reduced soon, hospital admissions will reach “high levels” in about two weeks, the scientists said.
England will likely see between 1,000 and 2,000 admissions per day by the end of the year.
However, SAGE said that if more restrictions are not introduced then there could be a peak of at least 3,000 admissions per day.
As we reported earlier, cabinet ministers were briefed on the latest COVID data earlier.
We’ve now learned the briefing was largely focused on the spread and rate of coronavirus infections.
Government officials said it was an “assessment of where we are” rather than a presentation of new data.
Protesters have been marching through the capital today against vaccine passports and further COVID measures.
Large crowds gathered in the area of the UK worst-hit with coronavirus infections currently, carrying signs and chanting “we stand together”.
Footage shows some of the protesters surrounding police, swearing and chanting “shame on you” at the officers.
Some demonstrators also carried flags supporting former US president Donald Trump.
The total number of Omicron deaths now reported in the UK has risen to seven, as of Thursday, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
One death had been reported up in data which ran up to Tuesday.
Hospitalisations have also increased to 85, up from 65.
As we reported a few minutes ago, Omicron cases have risen by 10,059 in the last 24 hours.
The London mayor declared the major incident as he is “incredibly concerned by the huge surge” of Omicron cases.
In the last 24 hours, the capital has seen its largest number of new cases since the pandemic began.
Announcing the move, Sadiq Khan told broadcasters: “I have taken the decision in consultation with our partners to declare a major incident today.”
It means resources could be redeployed to stretched areas – for example, firefighters could help to drive ambulances.
Roughly 15,000 COVID patients are currently in hospital in London, a rise of 30% in the last seven days.
The mayor previously declared a major incident on 8 January but stood it down on 26 February as cases fell.