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Arrows fans gather at Alexandra Palace for the World Championships


Three thousand darts fans thronged London’s Alexandra Palace today to watch the world championships – as city mayor Sadiq Khan warned people living in the capital to tone down their New Year’s Eve celebrations due to the threat posed by the Omicron type of coronavirus.

Pictures showed many fans wearing red and white striped “Where’s Whale” long-sleeved T-shirts and holding pitchers of beer as they enjoyed darts at the stadium in north London on Sunday afternoon.

While some wore masks, many spectators chose not to, including a group dressed as Vikings whose arms were in the air as they cheered the contestants.

The fans had gathered on the fifth day of the William Hill World Championships. Yesterday, three-time champion Michael Van Gerwin made it to the third round after losing the first set against challenger Chas Barstow.

But the crowded scenes at Alexandra Palace came when Khan pleaded with the public to “err take care” of their New Year’s Eve celebrations – saying they should only go to bars and restaurants if it could be done “safely”.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Khan gave a grim picture of the “existential” threat facing hospitality companies as people holed up and canceled events due to Covid concerns.

Three thousand darts fans thronged London’s Alexandra Palace today to watch the world championships – as city mayor Sadiq Khan warned people living in the capital to tone down their New Year’s Eve celebrations due to the threat posed by the Omicron type of coronavirus.

While some wore masks, many spectators chose not to, including a group dressed as Vikings whose arms were in the air as they cheered the contestants.

While some wore masks, many spectators chose not to, including a group dressed as Vikings whose arms were in the air as they cheered the contestants.

But the crowded scenes at Alexandra Palace came when Mr Khan (pictured at BBC Broadcasting House today) called on the public to 'take caution' at their New Year's Eve celebrations - saying they should only go to bars and restaurants if that happened.  It can be done

But the crowded scenes at Alexandra Palace came when Mr Khan (pictured at BBC Broadcasting House today) called on the public to ‘take caution’ at their New Year’s Eve celebrations – saying they should only go to bars and restaurants if that happened. can be done “safely”

Mr Khan called on the government to provide a package of support to keep places afloat during the recent crisis.

But it also gave a clear indication that people should not engage in festivities in the current climate.

Asked if the New Year’s parties should go ahead, Mr Khan said: “I think it depends on what kind of party you are planning. If it’s with your family, your immediate family at home of course is fine.”

I think what you should get to know, if you meet strangers, if you haven’t had a lateral flow test that day, if you can’t maintain social distance, if there’s no good ventilation, you might be transmitting the virus if you’ve had it without showing symptoms.

‘Or maybe you get it. err on the side of caution.’

Telling Mr. Khan that Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty was urging people to be selective about events that were personally important to them, he said: ‘I didn’t take advantage of that, I’m afraid to listen to Chris Whitty firsthand, but I trust Chris Whitty… if this Is the chief medical officer’s advice, I’d rather listen to him.

When asked if people should go to bars and restaurants, he said, “If they can do so safely.”

Mr Khan announced yesterday that a major incident had occurred due to the “extremely alarming” increase in cases across the capital, as he expressed concerns that staff at vital public services including the NHS, the fire service and the police had been absent due to the infection.

In a shocking warning, the mayor of London said the rapid spread of the Omicron variant made him ‘extremely concerned’ that the capital could run out of police officers, NHS workers and firefighters.

“The increase in Omicron variant cases across our capital is very worrying, so we are once again announcing a major incident due to the Covid-19 threat to our city,” he said.

Boris Johnson has so far rejected scientists' pleas to finally close Christmas to suppress the spread of the mutant Omicron variant

Boris Johnson has so far rejected scientists’ pleas to finally close Christmas to suppress the spread of the mutant Omicron variant

The Omicron variant quickly became dominant with cases increasing rapidly and the number of patients in our hospitals with Covid-19 increasing again.

But a government source angrily accused Khan – who announced a similar major incident in January – of politicizing Covid-19.

Omicron is the dominant variant in London and is believed to have also replaced Delta across England and Scotland.

Official figures released on Friday showed that the number of people infected with the virus in the capital’s hospitals rose by 28.6 percent on a weekly basis.

It comes amid fears that the normal Christmas Day could be under threat after Health Minister Sajid Javid warned the government must take action on Omicron before it is “too late”.

SAGE experts have raised the alarm that the number of infections could soon reach two million by the end of the month unless stricter restrictions are imposed.

Medical and science chiefs Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance are believed to have briefed Cabinet yesterday on the need for further action to stop hospital admissions rising to more than 3,000 people a day in England.

The fans had gathered on the fifth day of the William Hill World Championships.  Above: A man dressed as the Grinch inside Alexandra Palace yesterday

The fans had gathered on the fifth day of the William Hill World Championships. Above: A man dressed as the Grinch inside Alexandra Palace yesterday

Yesterday, three-time champion Michael Van Gerwin made it to the third round after losing the first set against challenger Chas Barstow.  Above: Fans sit inside the crowded venue on Saturday

Yesterday, three-time champion Michael Van Gerwin made it to the third round after losing the first set against challenger Chas Barstow. Above: Fans sit inside the crowded venue on Saturday

A general view of the crowd during the fourth day of the William Hill World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace, London

A general view of the crowd during the fourth day of the William Hill World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace, London

However, there is deep resistance among ministers over bringing millions of people back into lockdown as Christmas approaches.

There are also concerns that Boris Johnson may not have the political capital to push new restrictions after the massive rebellion against Plan B last week and the sudden resignation of Brexit Secretary Lord Frost last night.

However, this morning Mr. Javid hinted at possible new restrictions.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he said that in his previous career as a trader, “the most important decisions” were made when the data was “too early and incomplete, but a trend is emerging”.

“Once this trend has produced a clear result, it may be too late to respond,” he wrote.

In interviews this morning, Mr. Javid said the government was watching the evidence closely and was willing to “do what is necessary” – but insisted that calls from SAGE would be “challenged”.

He also made a firm commitment that Parliament would be summoned if any action was taken.

Pushed on whether the circuit breaker can be ruled out before Christmas, Javid told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme: “There are no guarantees”.

SAGE papers from Thursday’s meeting showed how advisers warned that delaying new restrictions until 2022 could “dramatically reduce the effectiveness of such interventions and reduce the likelihood that they will prevent significant strains on health and care settings”.



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