UK reports record daily Omicron cases with almost double yesterday’s number

UK reports record daily Omicron cases with almost double yesterday’s number

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There have been 1,239 new confirmed cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the UK – a record daily figure, and almost double the previous high which was announced yesterday.

On December 11, 633 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant were reported across the UK, bringing the total number to 1,898.

The total now stands at 3,137 – an increase of 65% since yesterday.

Looking at Covid infections overall, there were 48,854 reported today, with 52 deaths within 28 days of a positive test. This week saw the highest case numbers since the third wave of infections in January driven by the Alpha variant.

It comes less than two weeks before Christmas, with anxiety running high about how the festive season will look if we are in the middle of a new wave of infection.

Earlier today, the education secretary confirmed that there are people in hospital who have tested positive for the new strain.

Nadhim Zahawi has not said whether the Omicron infection was the primary reason for their hospitalisation or what the vaccination status of the patients were.

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Warning that the variant will soon be dominant ‘in the UK and probably in the world’, the minister said even if it turns out to be milder than Delta, it could result in tens of thousands of hospitalisations.

One third of infections in London are now Omicron and the actual nationwide number of cases could be ‘ten times’ the reported figure of 1,898, Mr Zahawi said.

He said that even if the variant did turn out to be milder, it could still overwhelm the NHS.

Mr Zahawi told Sky News: ‘Let’s do a mathematic exercise for a second. You get to a million infections by say the end of December – 1% is 10,000 severe infections that could be in hospital.

‘Three days later it is two million, three days later it is four million. Three days beyond that it is eight million.

‘That is the risk, that even if it is milder, say 50% milder than Delta, then the numbers are huge – it is a small percentage of a very large population.’

Last week Boris Johnson announced ‘Plan B’ measures would be introduced to help limit the spread, with new rules coming into place on tomorrow, including people being told to work from home if they can.

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Face coverings have also been made compulsory in more settings and NHS Covid passes will be needed to gain entry to nightclubs and other venues that hold large numbers of people.

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for the UK Health Security Agency, said still more Covid-19 measures may be needed, adding that the Government has ‘very difficult’ decisions ahead.

She told Times Radio that anyone concerned about having to isolate over Christmas itself should consider reducing their social contact beforehand.

‘We’ve spent two years, almost two years now living with this virus,’ she said. ‘We know how it transmits. It transmits when we’re with other people.

‘And therefore when we are coming up to a time where we will have engagements that we want to make, family that we want to see, then ensuring that we have less contacts before those is important so that we don’t transmit to others.’

Asked if she would advise people to avoid going out if they want to see family members over the festive season, Dr Hopkins said: ‘People know how transmission is prevented. It’s prevented by reducing your social contacts.

‘But sometimes you need to see your friends and you need to see your work colleagues or you need to go to that Christmas party for your mental health and wellbeing.

‘If you’re going to do that, then take a lateral flow, go and get your vaccine, get boosted as soon as possible.

‘Those are actions that you can take. If you want to make sure that you are not going to get infected, then keep your contacts to a minimum.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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