Queen Elizabeth cancels pre-Christmas family lunch over omicron fears

ANKARA: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has canceled a traditional pre-Christmas lunch for her extended family due to the spread of the omicron variant across the country, local media reported on Thursday.

The lunch is traditionally hosted at Buckingham Palace, the 95-year-old monarch’s official residence before she leaves for her annual Christmas stay at Sandringham.

She also had to cancel plans for the lunch last year over COVID-19 restrictions.

According to the British press, she canceled the plans so as not to put people’s Christmas arrangements at risk.

This year, the Queen is expected to meet with her immediate family members – her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren – at Sandringham.

Last year’s celebrations at Sandringham were also scrapped due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The UK on Wednesday recorded its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. The daily caseload reached 78,610, breaking the Jan. 8 record, when the UK was in its third national lockdown.

The substantial rise in cases has prompted a warning by UK’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty who has urged people to “prioritize what matters.”

The chief medical officer called on the people not to mix unnecessarily and to be aware that the pandemic is real and present, and even more so with the spread of this variant.

He also advised people to take PCR and lateral low tests when visiting vulnerable people and to meet outdoors with people from other households or in areas with good ventilation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also made clear that the government will not cancel Christmas holiday events and that there will be no restrictions on gathering or the closure of restaurants, cafes as well as pubs, but he warned people to exercise caution when planning to socialize.–Anadolu

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