Dominic Raab says he cannot make “hard, fast guarantees” that more restrictions won’t be imposed in the run-up to Christmas.
However, the deputy prime minister said he believes Britons will have a “much better Christmas than last year”.
Mr Raab told Kay Burley: “I think we will have a much better Christmas than last year because of the vaccination level – both the overall vaccination level and particularly the impact of the booster campaign.
“People will need to be careful and cautious.
“But I do think, again subject to the data – and it’s always under review – that we’re in a better position to enjoy Christmas with loved ones this year.”
Asked if more restrictions would be imposed between now and Christmas Day, Mr Raab said: “I just can’t make hard, fast guarantees.”
But Mr Raab added he did not anticipate parliament being recalled to vote on new restrictions before Christmas.
The cabinet minister said there was a time lag in the data and “we don’t yet know the severity” of the Omicron variant, adding that “it comes through day-by-day”.
He said regardless of modelling by scientific advisers, the government would “test the data in real-time against real cases”.
‘It is of serious concern’
Professor Ravi Gupta, member of NERVTAG which advises the government on the threat posed by new and emerging respiratory viruses, said “significant” action needs to be taken to tackle the growing number of COVID cases.
He said: “It is of serious concern. We have an escalating number of cases that really has reached levels that we haven’t seen before in terms of the rate of increase.
“The action that’s needed really is going to be quite significant.
“The sheer numbers that are going to be infected because of the increased transmissibility of this virus is going to potentially overwhelm our health service.
“So that’s a really critical situation that we’re facing.”