Bristol GP calls for tougher Covid restrictions as Omicron cases rise

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A Bristol GP has warned the NHS will be overwhelmed in the new year if tougher restrictions are not introduced over the Christmas period.

The Prime Minister has announcement there will be no new restrictions brought in, despite a rapid rise in Omicron Covid cases.

But Boris Johnson has warned the introduction of further rules is still on the table, saying: "We will rule nothing out".

The number of confirmed Omicron cases in the South West has now reached 3,346 according to the latest daily figures from the UK Health Security Agency - a rise of 772 in just 24 hours.

Dr Simon Bradley has called for restaurants and bars to be closed to slow the spread of the virus.

The Bristol GP has been leading the vaccination effort at Concord Medical Centre in Little Stoke since the start of the pandemic.

He says the government must act now - before there is a further rise in cases in January.

"We've got to get as many people vaccinated between now and the new year as possible, because that’s when the surge is coming", he told ITV News West Country.

Like many other practices in the UK, the medical centre has postponed routine appointments in order to get the 2,000 people they see vaccinated each day.

When asked if there should be more restrictions before Christmas, Dr Bradley said "absolutely", adding: "I want to see my family for Christmas, but I want them to be healthy first.

"I don't think people should be mixing. I think hospitality venues should be closed and I think they should be compensated for the closure as they were before and helped to survive because that's them making their contribution."

Other medical bosses in the region are also calling on people to get boosted before Christmas following the rapid rise in Omicron cases.

Dr Michael Marsh, Medical Director NHS England and NHS Improvement South West said the new variant meant “there’s no room for complacency” as he urged people to book a jab before the end of the year.

Medics at the centre vaccinate around 2,000 people a day.

His message comes after a record number of vaccines were delivered in the South West last week with more than 500,000 vaccines being given in the region since Monday 13 December.

“We need to keep up the momentum of last week and with the Omicron variant causing so much uncertainty, there is no room for complacency, so book today," he said.

"Once again, we are asking people to come forward as quickly as possible. If you are invited for your booster, book an appointment as soon as possible. And, if you still haven’t had your first or second dose, it is not too late, and we urge you to come forward today.”

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