Omicron coronavirus cases surge in UK, scientists see bigger wave

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Author of the article:


William Schomberg


Publishing date:

Dec 18, 2021  •  23 minutes in the past  •  3 minute learn  • 

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LONDON — Britain reported a surge in cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant on Saturday which authorities advisors mentioned could possibly be simply the tip of the iceberg, and London’s mayor declared a “major incident” to assist town’s hospitals cope.

The variety of Omicron cases recorded throughout the nation hit virtually 25,000 as of 1800 GMT on Friday, up by greater than 10,000 cases from 24 hours earlier, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) mentioned.


Seven individuals believed to have had the Omicron variant had died as of Thursday, up from one loss of life in the UKHSA’s earlier knowledge which ran as much as Tuesday. Admissions to hospital of individuals thought to have the variant elevated to 85 from 65.

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The authorities’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) mentioned it was “almost certain” that a whole bunch of hundreds of individuals had been being contaminated with the variant daily and weren’t being picked up in the figures.

SAGE mentioned and not using a additional tightening of COVID-19 guidelines, “modeling indicates a peak of at least 3,000 hospital admissions per day in England,” they mentioned in minutes of a gathering on Dec. 16.


Last January, earlier than Britain’s vaccination marketing campaign gathered velocity, day by day hospital admissions in the United Kingdom as an entire surged above 4,000.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confronted a revolt in his governing Conservative Party over a few of the measures he has taken to date to attempt to curb COVID-19’s newest unfold. A newspaper mentioned on Saturday that Johnson’s Brexit minister, David Frost, had resigned in half due to the brand new guidelines.

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The advisors mentioned it was too early to evaluate the severity of illness brought on by Omicron but when there was a modest discount in comparison with the Delta variant, “very high numbers of infections would still lead to significant pressure on hospitals.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a “major incident” – which permits for nearer coordination between public businesses and probably extra central authorities assist – as COVID-19 hospital admissions in town rose by practically 30% this week.

He mentioned well being employee absences had additionally elevated.

“This is a statement of how serious things are,” he mentioned.

Khan, from the opposition Labour Party, additionally declared a serious incident in January, when rising COVID-19 cases threatened to overwhelm hospitals.

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The Omicron variant is estimated to account for greater than 80% of latest COVID-19 cases in London, officers mentioned on Friday.


Johnson was attributable to chair an emergency committee assembly over the weekend with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which have their very own powers over public well being.

A report in The Times newspaper mentioned officers had been making ready draft guidelines which, if launched, would ban indoor mixing in England — apart from work — for 2 weeks after Christmas when pubs and eating places could be restricted to outside desk service.

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People would have the ability to meet in teams of as much as six outside, the newspaper mentioned, including that ministers had been but to formally take into account the plans.

Johnson mentioned on Friday “we are not closing things down.”

A authorities spokesperson mentioned the federal government would proceed to “look closely at all the emerging data and we’ll keep our measures under review as we learn more about this variant.”

The variety of all new COVID-19 cases reported in official knowledge fell to 90,418 from a file excessive of greater than 93,000 on Friday, however that was nonetheless the nation’s second-highest day by day toll. Figures sometimes dip on the weekend.

Cases had been up 44.4% over the seven days to Dec. 18 in contrast with the earlier week.

Police clashed with a gaggle of protesters against the most recent COVID-19 restrictions close to Johnson’s Downing Street workplace and residence on Saturday. Plenty of officers had been injured however to date no arrests had been made, police mentioned. (Editing by Helen Popper, Timothy Heritage and Catherine Evans)

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