Covid: Warning of major UK Omicron wave and boosters for over-30s in England

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Sunday morning. We'll have another update for you tomorrow.

1. Omicron study suggests major wave in January

The UK faces a substantial wave of Omicron infections in January without further restrictions, scientists say. The number of deaths from the variant by the end of April could range from 25,000 to 75,000 depending on how well vaccines perform, they said. But the experts behind the study said there was still uncertainty around the modelling. And another scientist who is not linked to the research said the study's worst case scenarios were unlikely.

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2. Covid booster jabs for England's over-30s from Monday

People aged 30 and over in England will be able to book a Covid-19 booster jab from Monday. Booster vaccinations are now being given three months on from a second dose - and more than 22 million people in the UK have now had a third jab or booster. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said data shows boosters are the "essential defence against Omicron".

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3. Thousands protest against Covid measures in Vienna

Tens of thousands of people staged a protest in Austria against measures to curb Covid, including mandatory vaccinations. Police say about 44,000 people rallied in the capital, Vienna, the fourth straight weekend of demonstrations. Last month Austria became the first western European country to reimpose a lockdown for those who are vaccinated, which ends on Sunday - but restrictions will continue for unvaccinated people.

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Image caption,
Protesters gathered outside the Hofburg Palace in the capital, Vienna

4. Plan B vote to be split into three amid Tory rebellion

A vote to pass new Covid measures into law this week is expected to be split into separate votes, as Boris Johnson faces a rebellion from about 60 Conservative MPs. Government sources suggested the introduction of Plan B measures for England will be divided into three votes on Tuesday. There will be a distinct vote on Covid passports, which are opposed by some Tories. But the Plan B rules are expected to become law as Labour is backing the government.

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5. NHS bosses 'strongly discourage' Christmas parties

People in Wales have been advised against attending Christmas parties to ease "increasing pressures" on the NHS. The message from Cardiff and Vale health board comes after four more Omicron cases were found in Wales on Friday. "In light of Omicron and increasing pressures we need to take urgent steps to protect ourselves, our colleagues, and our patients," it tweeted. "We strongly discourage attending Christmas parties."

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And there's more...

People in England should start working at home again if they can, as part of plans to curb Omicron. Find the full details about home-working across the UK here.

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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