News World Queen cancels Christmas plans as Britain eyes more restrictions

Queen cancels Christmas plans as Britain eyes more restrictions

Queen Elizabeth won’t host Christmas lunch.
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The Queen has cancelled her Christmas plans amid growing concern over a rise in coronavirus cases and the Omicron variant.

A recent surge in cases is placing pressure on London hospitals and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cautioned that further restrictions might be needed to curb the spread of the virus.

The Queen has decided to celebrate her first Christmas since the death of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor as a “precautionary” measure.

Rather than travel to Sandringham as usual, the monarch will remain at Windsor.

It follows the earlier cancellation of her traditional pre-Christmas lunch with extended family, which had been scheduled for Tuesday.

A royal source said the Queen will be visited by members of the royal family over the Christmas period after taking the “personal” decision to stay at the Berkshire residence, as she did with husband Phillip last year.

The head of state normally hosts her large family at Sandringham in Norfolk over the holidays, and they are watched by crowds as they attend church on December 25.

But as coronavirus cases increase rapidly across the country amid the rise of the Omicron variant, will stay at Windsor and will not attend a public church service on Christmas Day.

It has not yet been confirmed where the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will spend Christmas.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has not ruled out bringing in further virus measures.

“I have to say to the British public, and I say to everybody, we will not exclude the possibility of going further if we have to do things to protect the public,” he said.

“We will have to reserve the possibility of taking further action to protect the public.”

Asked about speculation that the government would ban indoor socialising and limit tourism, Mr Johnson said: “I can certainly say we’re looking at all kinds of things… to keep Omicron under control and we will rule nothing out.”

-with AAP