Queen Elizabeth II canceled a family lunch before Christmas as a precautionary measure due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the UK, a Buckingham Palace source told Citizen Free Press on Thursday.

According to the source, the decision is a precautionary one since it is considered that the lunch would put at risk the Christmas arrangements of many people if it were carried out.

While there is “regret” that the lunch has been canceled, the source added, there is a belief that it is “the right thing to do” for everyone involved.

The 95-year-old monarch is usually the host of the annual event for her extended family before Christmas at Buckingham Palace.

Last year’s meeting was also canceled due to the pandemic.

It was believed that there were plans for Christmas lunch at Windsor Castle next Tuesday, according to PA Media.

The Queen’s Christmas Lunch

In previous years, Queen Elizabeth invited her entire family to join her at her London residence before departing for Sandringham in Norfolk, where she welcomes close relatives during the year-end holiday period.

The main residence of the monarch these days is Windsor Castle, on the outskirts of London.

This year is the queen’s first Christmas since the death of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, in April.

The decision to cancel this year comes after strong warnings from England’s medical director about the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, asking people to be careful so that Christmas can be preserved.

Professor Chris Whitty said that people should “prioritize what matters to them” when considering attending parties and other events during the Christmas period.

The omicron variant hits the UK

The omicron coronavirus variant is spreading at a rate not seen with previous variants, according to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

And officials in Britain say the country is facing a “surge” of omicron infections. The strain became dominant in London, outperforming the previous variant, delta.

On Monday, the UK reported its first death from the variant, and on Wednesday it reported 78,610 new cases of the coronavirus, the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began.

The previous record for new daily infections was 68,053 on January 8.

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