First Omicron death recorded in the UK, says Boris Johnson
PRIME MINISTER, Boris Johnson, claims that at least one person has died as a result of the new Omicron variant.
While visiting a vaccination centre near Paddington, Johnson said that people should set aside the idea that Omicron is a milder variant, and the “best thing” people could do is get their booster vaccinations.
He also said: “Sadly yes, Omicron is producing hospitalisations and sadly at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron.
“So I think the idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus, I think that’s something we need to set on one side and just recognise the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population.”
The confirmation comes after Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, said on Monday, December 13 that ten patients in England were being treated in hospital for the new variant.
The Health Secretary said ministers will “throw everything at” the COVID booster programme to tackle Omicron.
It has been announced that Mr Javid will make a statement to the Commons on COVID-19 later today.
For the next few weeks, GPs will solely focus on urgent needs and vaccinations.
On Sunday, the UK reported 1,239 additional cases of the Omicron variant. This is the highest daily rise, and is nearly double the previous high set on Saturday.
The overall number of verified Omicron cases now stands at 3,137.
There are currently 15 confirmed cases of the new variant in Wales.
Mr Johnson went on to say that Omicron already accounts for around 40% of coronavirus cases in London, and that “tomorrow it’ll be the majority of cases.”
He told broadcasters that he wants the booster rollout to now “hit warp speed”.
This statement follows his announcement on Sunday that everyone aged 18 and over in England will be able to get their booster vaccine before 2022.
In response to Omicron, the rollout has been increased after early analysis indicated that two doses of the Covid vaccination were insufficient to prevent people from contracting the variant.
However, according to a study conducted by the UK Health Security Agency, a third booster dose provides roughly 70% to 75% protection against symptomatic Omicron infection.
The NHS website repeatedly crashed on Monday morning as many people attempted to book their booster doses.
Wes Streeting, the Shadow Health Secretary, said the confirmation of the first individual to die from the Omicron variant “underlines the seriousness of the situation”.
“The awful news of the UK’s first Omicron death underlines the seriousness of the situation and my heart goes out to their family and friends” he tweeted.
“This is why the booster rollout is so vital and public health measures are necessary to reduce its spread.”
Later on Monday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will deliver a speech to the UK, in which he will respond to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new booster rollout plan.
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