Breaking: Chris Whitty questioned by MPs over Omicron failings

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Record daily UK Covid cases second day

Professor Chris Whitty is being questioned by MPs over Omicron and the staggering rising cases.

Professor Chris Whitty is being questioned by MPs over Omicron and the staggering rising cases in the UK as millions could be isolating on Christmas Day.

England’s chief medical officer is answering questions from MPs of the Health and Social Care Committee.

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Jeremy Hunt asked Prof Whitty to give answers to his comments about “prioritising social events that matter” at yesterday’s news conference with Boris Johnson, December 15.

Prof Whitty replied that everyone can see this is “moving very fast” and that the rates will continue to go up. He commented yesterday that we will see the new variant breaking records.

He continued that people will be attending lots of important events at this time of year and, in practice, it is sensible for people to minimise their interactions with people – especially ones that are less important to them.


“I wouldn’t want to tell people they should do a particular thing” he comments, adding that the public should “prioritise what they do.”

When asked if he is advising people to not go to football matches, Prof Whitty replied: “Prioritise the things that matter to you.”

He is also asking people to work from home if they can.


Jeremy Hunt asks Prof Whitty to clarify his comments on whether or not people should go to Christmas parties.

Hunt asked Prof Whitty to clarify his comments on attending Christmas parties, Whitty says: “I’m still trying to avoid making other people’s choices for them. But I would go on to say really clearly that I think people should prioritise what really matters to them and then cut down on the things that don’t.”

“For some people, it may be that what really matters to them is going to the office party time. But I think it should be really for people to make those choices.”

“There is a wide range of possibilities where this will go.”

Ministers will constantly review restrictions if vaccines prove to be less effective.

“Because of the steepness of this, a lot of people will simultaneously fall ill,” he says.

When asked about mistakes made earlier in the pandemic and how they can be avoided this time he says that several mistakes were made, including not acting fast enough on decreasing the number of people working between care settings and not spotting the effects of people not having adequate sick pay fast enough.

He says those mistakes have not been repeated this time and that “We’re trying to navigate a route between” the needs of families and reducing the spread of the virus over Christmas.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.


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Laura is from a small seaside town in North Wales and has also lived in Liverpool and Manchester, where she studied English Literature and worked in social media and marketing. Laura moved to the city of Zaragoza last August to teach English, but after missing the coast she decided to move to beautiful Nerja to enjoy the sun and sea. Laura has a passion for animals, films, outdoor activities, writing and the environment.

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