TOUGHER pandemic measures could be brought in to stem the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus, reports have suggested, as ministers debate how to tackle the rising number of infections.

It has been reported that Boris Johnson was presented with a number of options on Friday under a so-called Plan C, ranging from “mild guidance to nudge people, right through to lockdown”.

Allies of the Prime Minister were quoted by the Financial Times, who claimed Mr Johnson still wanted to go down the guidance route, but that he also had to be realistic about the threat of Omicron.

And leaked minutes from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said scientists had told ministers that tougher measures need to be brought in “very soon”.

It was reported the advisers had recommended moving to restrictions seen in step one and two of the easing of lockdown restrictions in the spring. This included a ban on indoor mixing and indoor hospitality.

And they reportedly warned against delaying further interventions until 2022.

It was also reported that draft regulations were being prepared which could ban meeting others indoors except for work purposes, and that pubs and restaurants would be limited to outdoor service only, for two weeks after Christmas.

Lord Victor Adebowale, chairman of the NHS Confederation, voiced support for a circuit-breaker, warning that a cautionary approach should be taken.

He said: “I would support the circuit-breaker. My members would support the circuit-breaker.

“We’ve been calling for Plan B for some time now and we’re glad that it was voted through. I think the Government has to be prepared to recall Parliament if further interventions are needed.

“The fact of the matter is we should be taking the precautionary principle. We should be protecting our NHS and our public services. We have no economy without health.”

The UK reported more than 90,000 new Covid cases in another record daily total on Friday - more than half of adults in the UK have now received their booster dose of the Covid vaccine though.

A Government spokesperson said: “The Government will continue to look closely at all the emerging data and we’ll keep our measures under review as we learn more about this variant.”