First Omicron loss of life confirmed in U.Okay. as PM warns of “tidal wave” of infections

London — No less than one particular person has died from the brand new Omicron variant of the coronavirus within the U.Okay., Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned on Monday. The loss of life was confirmed as Johnson warned of a looming “tidal wave” of Omicron infections, with instances doubling each two to a few days throughout Britain. 

Because the Delta variant continues to drive up coronavirus infections in america, Britain has now shifted its focus to Omicron, which officers warn is spreading at a “phenomenal charge.” 

The U.Okay. re-imposed some restrictions on Monday in a bid to gradual Omicron’s unfold and provides scientists time to search out out simply how far more transmissible it’s, how profitable it will likely be at evading present vaccines, and whether or not it’s any extra extreme than earlier variants. Britons at the moment are being requested to work at home and put on masks in lots of public settings. The federal government remains to be contemplating a attainable requirement for anybody getting into massive venues, like live performance halls or nightclubs, to show their vaccination or COVID check standing.

The World Well being Group famous on Sunday that whereas information was nonetheless restricted, there have been early indications that absolutely vaccinated individuals doubtless don’t not have adequate antibodies to struggle off symptomatic an infection with the Omicron variant, which warned might result in elevated transmission, with “extreme penalties.”

Dr. Agus on Britain’s Omicron warning indicators…


There has been information, nonetheless, reported by vaccine makers Pfizer and BioNTech final week, suggesting {that a} third or booster shot of their vaccine would provide the same degree of safety in opposition to Omicron because the two-dose routine had in opposition to the unique variant. Early evaluation of knowledge from the U.Okay. confirmed {that a} third booster dose prevented round 75% of symptomatic infections, scientists mentioned final week.

On Sunday evening, in a televised deal with to the nation, Johnson introduced the acceleration of the nation’s vaccine booster program, opening it as much as anybody over the age of 18 and imploring individuals to get their third pictures. He ordered Britain’s Nationwide Well being Service to ramp as much as 1,000,000 booster pictures a day. That will not sound like a lot in a rustic as huge as america, however as Newsplaneta Information correspondent Charlie D’Agata reported on Monday, it is a tall order within the U.Okay., the place the best one-day complete ever reached, in March, was slightly below 850,000.

“Nobody needs to be in any doubt that there’s a tidal wave of Omicron coming,” Johnson mentioned. “I am afraid it’s now clear that two doses of vaccine are merely not sufficient to present the extent of safety all of us want.”

Vaccination Centers As U.K. Raises Covid Alert Level
Individuals line up for COVID-19 vaccinations at a Nationwide Well being Service walk-in vaccine middle at Romford, U.Okay., December 13, 2021.

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg through Getty

On Monday, Johnson mentioned Omicron would grow to be the dominant variant of latest infections in London inside 24 hours.

“I believe the concept that that is in some way a milder model of the virus, that is one thing we have to set on one facet and simply acknowledge the sheer tempo at which it accelerates by means of the inhabitants. So the very best factor we will do is all get our boosters,” he mentioned.

Early on Monday, the well being service’s web site crashed as greater than 100,000 individuals tried to e book booster pictures without delay, and lengthy traces have been reported at walk-in vaccination facilities across the nation.

U.Okay. Well being Secretary Sajid Javid echoed the decision for individuals to get their boosters, including that the brand new restrictions, although they arrive forward of clear information in regards to the severity and transmissibility of Omicron, might assist stop hospitals from being overwhelmed.

“This does purchase us time,” he mentioned.

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