The government will keep its decision not to impose further Covid curbs in England under very close review, a cabinet minister has said.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said the evidence did not support more interventions at the moment.
The hospitality sector described the decision not to add further measures as a “lifeline” for pubs, bars and clubs.
But there is concern about the impact on hospitals and schools of staff having to self-isolate.
Prof Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told BBC Breakfast that in time people with Covid should be allowed to “go about their normal lives” as they would with a common cold.
“If the self-isolation rules are what’s making the pain associated with Covid, then we need to do that perhaps sooner rather than later,” he said.
He suggested this might be able to happen “once we’re past Easter”, depending on the effects of the disease at that time.
Some scientists advising ministers are concerned the government may be taking an overly optimistic approach when it comes to restrictions.
England has not gone as far as the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – which have all introduced further restrictions this week.
On Monday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said people should remain cautious and celebrate outside on New Year’s Eve if possible. He said the government would reassess whether more measures were needed in the new year.
Mr Eustice said “if we do see a big increase in hospital admissions” then ministers would have to act.
Pubs, bars and restaurants have been hard hit in the run-up to Christmas, due to mass cancellations over Omicron variant fears.
UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the decision to not go beyond Plan B measures in England would give “a real lifeline” to many.
But there are also calls for more support – Adnams brewery boss Andy Wood, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme more than half of Christmas business had been lost.