Festive revellers paint town red on biggest night out before Christmas amid fears of two-week lockdown

THOUSANDS of festive revellers hit towns and cities across the UK last night in a desperate bid for one final blowout before Christmas.

Party-goers made the most of their freedoms by packing out bars in Leeds, Birmingham and Cardiff as fears of a two-week lockdown grew.

Officials have reportedly been mulling proposals for a two-week circuit-breaker, which would include a ban on meeting friends and family indoors.

But last night Boris Johnson told the nation: "We are not closing things down."

Swarms of Brits followed suit, with glamorous drinkers mixing with pals in ways unheard of this time last year.

Hundreds of punters packed out Birmingham's Christmas market, sinking back steins with pals despite the surge in Covid cases fuelled by Omicron.

Police were out in force on St Mary's Street, Cardiff, as the booze got the better of some.

Meanwhile, drinkers were in high spirits in Leeds and Newcastle, donning festive accessories as they celebrated the night.

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It came as a record 93,000 Brits were newly-infected with Covid on Friday while tens of thousands will be isolating this Christmas as a result of the spike.

According to The Times, ministers are preparing draft plans that will prevent Brits meeting others indoors except for work purposes.

Pubs and restaurants would be limited to outdoor service only if the scheme is given the green light.

Other reports suggest Mr Johnson has been presented with a range of options for 'plan C', ranging from "mild guidance to nudge people, right through to lockdown".

Mr Johnson says a "considerable wave" of cases is sweeping in – but stood firm on tougher rules this side of Christmas.

“I’ve said already that people should be cautious, but what we have also said is that people should decide what they want to do. It is a matter for their personal choice," he said.

“We are not closing things down but we do think people need to be cautious.”

However, he urged everyone to get their booster – and warned the mutation is "a very serious threat to us now".

On a visit to a vaccination centre in Hillingdon, West London, he said: "People have got to be prepared and they have got to understand what it entails."

And he said Brits must be "prudent".

"You need to think about your budget of risk," he said.

It comes as pubs and bars in Ireland will have to close at 8pm from Monday – undoubtedly alarming hospitality chiefs already facing huge pressure.

Some bosses also say they have had "no option" but to close during a "double whammy" of sick staff and customers staying away over concerns their festive plans could be disrupted.

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