Anti-vaxxers caused chaos at a Covid testing site as cases again surged to a record high.

Boris Johnson said 90% of ICU patients with the virus have not had a booster as the NHS planned to open new Nightingale wards.

Labour urged a crackdown over fake news on jabs, saying: “This is now a matter of life and death.”

A baying mob besieged a Covid testing centre as the NHS was put on a war footing to deal with record case numbers.

It came as Boris Johnson said nine in 10 patients in intensive care with the virus had not had their booster jab, and urged all those eligible to get the shot before New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Mob stops a car near an NHS testing site


Ray Tang/LNP)

Labour called for an urgent crackdown on dangerous anti-vax conspiracy theories online, warning they could be stopping people getting their jab and therefore slowing down the nation’s recovery from the crisis.

Over 180,000 new cases were reported yeasterday, smashing previous records, though they included delayed Northern Ireland figures.

The PM said the Omicron variant “continues to cause real problems” as it rips through the country.

It now accounts for over 90% of all community cases in England, the UK Health Security Agency said.

A protester inside the testing centre


London News Pictures)

Gyms and community centres near hospitals will be converted into wards as the NHS prepares for the possibility of a huge influx of patients.

Temporary structures capable of housing around 100 patients will be erected in the grounds of eight English hospitals as the Nightingale scheme is revived.

NHS England medical director Prof Stephen Powis said: “Given the high level of Covid-19 infections and increasing hospital admissions, the NHS is now on a war footing.

An anti-vaxxer chucks a traffic cone


London News Pictures)

“We do not yet know exactly how many of those who catch the virus will need hospital treatment, but given the number of infections we cannot wait to find out before we act and so work is beginning from today to ensure these facilities are in place.”

Protesters marched on Milton Keynes just hours after Mr Johnson visited a vaccination centre in the Buckinghamshire town.

A crowd helf up traffic near an NHS Test and Trace centre in the town.

One woman was pictured inside the centre, holding a sign reading: “Reclaim NHS, end jab tyranny now.”

Boris Johnson during his visit to the Covid vaccination centre at the Rainbow Pharmacy in the Open University Campus, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes



Traffic cones were hurled and one yob shouted: “Shame on you!” at dedicated staff and volunteers.

Cries of “You murdering b****rds” and “The wind is changing” were heard as the crowd marched into the testing site, and one demonstrator appeared to pick up testing equipment before carrying it out of a tent there.

Anti-vax conspiracy theorist Piers Corbyn, 74, was pictured at the “Freedom Rally” and joined protesters targeting a shopping centre in the town.

Tory MP Alicia Kearns slammed the “utterly appalling” scenes, adding: “Thank you to all the volunteers and staff who deserve so much better than this shameful, self-aggrandising nonsense.”

A woman appears to carry a box


London News Pictures)

Thames Valley Police said it would “take swift action and bring offenders to justice” where necessary.

Thames Valley Police said it would “take swift action and bring offenders to justice” where necessary.

Shadow Digital Secretary Lucy Powell said: “The continuing spread of vaccine misinformation online is hitting vaccine uptake, and tackling this is critical to getting the unvaccinated vaccinated.

“One person put off the vaccine by dangerous anti-vaxxers is one too many. Government complacency on fake news means they are failing to take action against online platforms facilitating the spread of disinformation. This is now a matter of life and death.”

Anti-vaxxers inside the Milton Keynes Theatre


Ray Tang/LNP)

Some 57.5% of those eligible have had a booster shot, figures showed last night. The PM said 2.4 million eligible double-jabbed people had yet to receive the top-up. He said jabs are making a “huge difference” in the fight on Covid, adding: “The overwhelming majority of people who are currently ending up in intensive care in our hospitals are people who are not boosted.

Some 57.5% of those eligible have had a booster shot, figures showed last night. The PM said 2.4 million eligible double-jabbed people had yet to receive the top-up. He said jabs are making a “huge difference” in the fight on Covid, adding: “The overwhelming majority of people who are currently ending up in intensive care in our hospitals are people who are not boosted.

“I’ve talked to doctors who say the numbers are running up to 90% of people in intensive care, who are not boosted. If you’re not vaccinated, you’re eight times more likely to get into hospital altogether.

“So it’s very, very important. Get boosted for yourself, and enjoy New Year sensibly and cautiously.”

Piers Corbyn and fellow protesters clash with theatre patrons wearing face masks inside Milton Keynes Theatre


Ray Tang/LNP)

The PM said the success of the booster campaign was “allowing us to go ahead with New Year in the cautious way that we are” despite soaring Omicron cases.

England’s restriction-free status this week makes it a UK outlier – leading to claims that locked-down Welsh and Scottish revellers living near the borders could travel across to enjoy the big night.

But health minister Chloe Smith slapped down Scottish Government pleas for Scots not to go partying in England, saying: “We are one country and people are more than free to move around inside our country.”

Lucy Powell said ‘this is now a matter of life and death’


Getty Images)

Friday night’s festivities will go ahead in England despite another 183,037 Covid cases diagnosed yesterday, and 57 deaths.

Another 32,923 Omicron cases were recorded, taking the UK total to 210,122.

However, figures show increasing numbers of hospital patients with Covid were admitted for an unrelated condition.

Only a fifth of the latest weekly rise in Covid inpatients was caused by people there because of the virus.

Surging Omicron patients, and staff absences due to coronavirus, have already led to non-emergency appointments being axed as hospitals face being overwhelmed.

The PM has faced growing calls to slash the mandatory isolation period for infected people from seven days to five, if sufferers test negative.

NHS Confederation chief Matthew Taylor warned that “staff absence is a huge issue for the NHS right now”.

He added: “The Government, with scientific advice, has to make an assessment of the balance of risk here, but it’s important to recognise that there are risks to anything that we do, and if we were to reduce to five days that would have to be based on very clear evidence that is not going to increase the rate of infection.”

An Online Safety Bill is due to be brought forward in the New Year, including measures to tackle fake news.

A Government spokesman said: “We have one of the highest Covid-19 vaccine uptake rates in the world and over the past year have been providing people with advice and information about vaccines in one of the most extensive public health campaigns ever launched.”

He said the counter-disinformation unit “continues to work closely with social media companies to identify and remove dangerous disinformation about vaccines”.

He added: “Our tough new online safety laws will force these companies into action.

“Now that Parliament has provided the necessary scrutiny of the legislation, we will introduce it as soon as possible.”

The 8 Nightingale surge hubs…

North West – Royal Preston Hospital

North East and Yorkshire – Leeds, St James’ site

Midlands – Solihull Hospital, University Hospitals Birmingham and University Hospitals Leicester

East of England – Lister Hospital, Stevenage, Hertfordshire

London – St George’s, South London

South East – William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, Kent

South West – North Bristol

No lateral flow or PCR for 2nd day

Lateral flow and PCR tests were yesterday unavailable to order for a second day.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, below , is said to have admitted supply problems due to a global shortage of lateral flow tests.

Brits have been advised to test before mixing with friends and family. The Government website said there were no delivery slots for rapid tests and no at-home or in-person PCRs.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid is said to have admitted supply problems


Getty Images)

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said: “The failure to make enough tests available weeks after they became a requirement is a total shambles.

“People are trying to do the right thing and test themselves regularly, but are prevented by Government incompetence.”

Leyla Hannbeck, of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies said: “Pharmacies are reporting that every five minutes, approximately, somebody comes in to the pharmacy asking for a test.”

A pharmacy sign notifies customers that there are no rapid antigen tests in stock at the outlet in London



She said patchy supply means they don’t always get it.

The Government’s UK Health Security Agency said: “Rapid tests are available to order directly to people’s homes via and availability is refreshed regularly throughout the day.”

Over half of nurses aiming to leave NHS

More than half of nurses are thinking of quitting as the pressure on the NHS has become “intolerable”.

A poll of more than 9,000 found many were regularly working 12-hour shifts.

The 2021 biennial Employment Survey for the Royal College of Nursing revealed 57% are “either thinking about leaving their job or actively planning to leave”.

A similar question in its 2019 poll found 37% of nurses were looking for a new job.

In a foreword to the report, Pat Cullen, general secretary and chief executive of the RCN, said: “Nursing is not a heroic deed, a selfless act or a vocation. Nursing is a safety critical profession, essential to society and it takes its responsibilities very seriously.

“The evidence shows many of our members now find the pressure on them intolerable.”

The poll, carried out in October before Omicron hit, found 74% report regularly working beyond their shifts, most often unpaid, with 17% doing so on every shift.

Only 63% said they had been able to take their full holiday entitlement over the past year.

Meanwhile, 68% reported they feel under too much pressure at work and 62% are too busy to provide the level of care they would like to.

Some 77% said they had worked when they should have taken sick leave at least once in the previous 12 months.

Of those who worked when unwell, 67% said they were stressed and 38% had mental health issues.

Ms Cullen said: “As the pandemic moves into a third calendar year, our members talk vividly about the toll and years of understaffing.

“Nursing undoubtedly has the potential to be a hugely rich and satisfying career, but with tens of thousands of nursing jobs unfilled the situation is unsustainable.”

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