We’ve been hearing a lot about Christmas parties today and whether companies should host them this year.
A UK minister who says it is up to individual businesses to decide whether to have a Christmas party this year says he has cancelled his own.
Science minister George Freeman earlier told LBC Radio: “I can tell you that my parliamentary team and I normally have a Christmas party.
“We’ve decided this year that it is probably sensible to do it by Zoom and wait for the spring. It won’t be the best party in the world.
“But… we don’t want to be telling every individual business what they should or shouldn’t be doing. It is a matter for them.”
It comes after the prime minister and health secretary said there was no need to cancel Christmas parties.
Sir Martin Sorrell, of advertising agency S4Capital, is urging the government to offer clear guidance to businesses who he says are seeing a “sharp series of cancellations” in Christmas parties since the emergence of the Omicron variant.
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Mandatory vaccination in Germany may be only way out – ICU doctor
Mandatory vaccinations may be needed to combat the spread of Covid cases in Germany, an ICU doctor tells the BBC.
Chancellor Angela Merkel says a vaccine mandate could be imposed from February next year, if approved by parliament.
Dr Hans Bodeker, a hospital consultant in Dresden, Saxony – which has the highest infection rate in the country – says a rise in hospitalisations is being driven by unvaccinated people. The surge has made him change his mind about forced vaccinations.
“If you had asked me a few weeks ago, I would have said no I don’t want that. [But] at the moment I think it’s the only way to get out of the situation is vaccinating, vaccinating, and probably it needs to be mandatory to heighten rates,” he tells the BBC World Service’s OS programme.
Bodeker says scepticism about the government and mainstream media is making young people unsure about getting jabbed.
“People are living in their social media bubble – and they think the danger is coming not from the virus but from the vaccination. It’s horrible.”Article share tools
Norway announces new restrictions after Omicron found
Norway has announced strict new Covid measures in Oslo and nearby areas after a suspected cluster of Omicron cases was found in the capital.
People have been ordered to wear masks in public places and work from home where possible. Travellers arriving in Norway must do a Covid test within 24 hours of arrival.
The measures come as officials raise alarm over a possible Omicron cluster among dozens of people who attended a Christmas dinner in the capital.
Up to 50 people who were at the event have since tested positive, and at least one of them has the new variant, city officials say. If the new strain is detected among all of them, it would be the one of the largest known outbreaks of the new variant in Europe.