Christmas should not be “under threat” this year due to Covid, a health expert has said.

Professor Paul Hunter, from the Health Protection Research Unit, appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning to discuss the emergence of the Omicron variant across the UK.

A further 86 cases of the variant were reported in the UK over the weekend, taking the total number to 246.

The UK Health Security Agency revealed that 64 of those 86 new cases were reported in England.

While the remaining 18 cases were found in Scotland, taking the country’s total to 48 cases.

Christmas not 'under threat' from Omicron variant

Professor Hunter said he could see the Omicron variant becoming the dominant strain in the UK but added we would not know the pressures the variant will put on the NHS until after Christmas.

Mr Hunter also said he believed meeting family at Christmas would not be “under threat” due to the Omicron variant.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said: “I think the thing about Christmas Day itself is that while you meet with your family, we actually interact with fewer people over the Christmas break than we do in our normal working week.

“Respiratory viruses like Covid spread less rapidly through society while we are on our Christmas break then they do at other times, so personally I do not think that primary focus of Christmas where you meet with your family is under threat.”

He added: “If you are a vulnerable person and if you have not been vaccinated or had your booster jab, think twice about maybe going to the office party, but in terms of Christmas day and surrounding days, I do not think that is under threat.”