HOLIDAYMAKERS will soon need all three jabs to jet abroad without having to quarantine, Boris Johnson warned tonight.
At a Downing St press conference the PM hovered the risk of travel curbs over the nine million eligible Brits who still have not been boosted.
He said: “It’s already the case that to travel to some countries you need a booster to be considered fully vaccinated.
“And it’s likely that within weeks this will increasingly become the norm.”
The PM is also toughening the domestic definition of “fully-vaccinated” to include boosters to help turbocharge the rollout and beat back Omicron.
It means footie fans and nightclubbers will soon need all three jabs on their Covid passport.
But he promised it will not come into force until everyone has had a realistic chance of getting their boosters.
There are droves of people who want a vaccine but are being forced to wait weeks after being infected over Christmas.
The PM also confirmed he was holding off imposing any fresh restrictions and is instead sticking with Plan B, which includes vaccine passports.
He is also betting big on the booster rollout, which the Sun’s Jab’s Army campaign is helping by getting shots in arms.
Ministers are also confident that Omicron is much milder than previous strains following studies showing it slashes the risk of serious illness by up to 70 per cent.
In major developments:
- A record 218,000 cases were recorded today as Omicron spiked
- 100,000 critical workers will be fast-tracked for lateral flow tests
- Millions of pupils will wore masks in classrooms today as they returned
- Scientists were “cautiously optimistic” that Covid was flattening in London
- Ministers played down fears the booster rollout was slowing down
- A vaccines guru said the worst days of pandemic are “behind us”.
At tonight’s press briefing the PM all but ruled out fresh restrictions over the coming months.
He said: “I would say we have a good chance of getting through the Omicron wave without the need for further restrictions – and without the need certainly for a lockdown.”
The PM said he would recommend to Cabinet tomorrow that the nation should retain Plan B measures of masks, working from home and Covid passes.
But the PM is facing urgent calls to slash the isolation period from seven to five days to ease the pressure of Omicron-fuelled staff absences.
Cabinet Ministers have been told to hammer out back-up plans in case vital sectors creak under the strain of staff shortages.
Soldiers could even be deployed to plug the absences of critical workers if needed.
The PM’s spokesman said: “All departments have been asked to look at how they would mitigate against large-scale absences across their relevant workforces, up to 25%.”
Kids are also facing chaos on their first day back at school as teacher shortages threaten more closures and a return to damaging remote learning.
But ministers say it could spectacularly backfire and possibly lead to more infections overall.
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said: “We don’t feel it’s appropriate to reduce it any further because we will be very concerned that people will still be infectious and be able to pass on the disease.”
Ministers and experts are growingly optimistic that doomsday predictions of swamped hospitals will be avoided.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said hospital admissions seem to have “perhaps plateaued in London”.
Top boffin Prof Neil Ferguson also believes rates in the capital may be levelling off after a Christmas peak.
He said: “I think I’m cautiously optimistic that infection rates in London in that key 18-50 age group, which has been driving the Omicron epidemic, may possibly have plateaued, it’s too early to say whether they’re going down yet.”
And Oxford vaccines chief Sir Andrew Pollard hailed that “the worst is absolutely behind us. We just need to get through the winter.”