Concerns over highly transmissible Omicron continue to grow as the UK reports first death linked to the new variant

Concerns Over Highly Transmissible Omicron Continue To Grow As The UK Reports First Death Linked To The Variant

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Tuesday, December 14, 2021 03:34 PM IST
Concerns Over Highly Transmissible Omicron Continue To Grow As The UK Reports First Death Linked To The Variant A representative image for coronavirus
  • For the first time since May, Britain’s Covid alert level has been increased to level 4, indicating a rising degree of transmission.

    As per reports, there have been 4,713 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant and over 200,000 daily infections in the UK.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson said that at least one individual in the country has died from the Omicron coronavirus variant. He also stated that the new variant was causing hospitalisations and that the "best thing" people could do was receive their booster shot.

According to the British PM, people should be aware of the sheer rate at which Omicron accelerates across the population and should abandon the assumption that Omicron is a milder variation.

As reported by BBC, Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, told MPs that Omicron was now responsible for 20 per cent of cases in the UK, while Johnson has set a new goal of offering a booster to all adults in the country by the end of December.

In a tweet, Johnson said: “More than half a million people booked their booster jab today – an incredible feat. We're doing everything we can to deliver millions more boosters in the coming weeks.”

The UK reported 54,661 new coronavirus infections on 13 December, with 38 deaths occurring within 28 days after a positive test.

Although there have been 4,713 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, Javid stated that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) estimates that there are currently over 200,000 daily infections.

The Minister also said on 13 December that particularly in London, Omicron has increased to almost 44 per cent of cases and is anticipated to become the prevalent form in the next 48 hours. As per a BBC report, with Omicron doubling every two to three days, it may swiftly expand from a modest to a massive quantity.

The UKHSA confirmed that 10 patients with the Omicron variant had been admitted to hospitals in the country. Additionally, the agency said that their ages ranged from 18 to 85 and the bulk of them had already had two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Booster And Restrictions

In reaction to the threat from new variant, the country's booster programme has been expanded, with online bookings for boosters opened on 13 December for over-30s and for 18 to 29-year-olds beginning on 15 December.

Setting the booster target, Javid said, would entail a large amount of NHS staffing and it could not be guaranteed that everyone would receive their vaccine by the end of the month.

According to him, the NHS had indicated that it will return to its highest level of emergency preparation, implying that the reaction to Omicron could be coordinated as a national operation rather than being led by individual institutions. He also stated that the NHS Covid pass for overseas travel would be made available to children aged 12 to 15.

For the first time since May, Britain’s Covid alert level has been increased to level 4, indicating a rising degree of transmission.

Some early analysis revealed that two doses of the Covid-19 vaccination were insufficient to prevent people from contracting Omicron, but the UKHSA discovered that a third dosage provided roughly 70 to 75 per cent protection against symptomatic infection.

However, as reported, a million doses per day would be required to meet the government's booster aim.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Keir Starmer said that his party backed the goal of providing booster shots to all adults by the end of the month and urged people to obtain their booster shots.

In terms of restrictions, government efforts to stem the spread of the new variant might result in the closure of hospitality firms within weeks, even as Johnson faces the biggest mutiny of his premiership on 14 December, with a third of Tory backbenchers set to vote against the controversial 'Plan B' vaccine passports.

According to reports, officials have drawn up plans to limit the number of people allowed in pubs and restaurants across the UK.

MPs have privately warned that any attempt to restore punitive regulations such as the prohibition on households mixing might result in a flood of New Year's Eve party cancellations, further decimating the business. Hospitality venues may be forced to close if vaccine passports are not issued, according to Downing Street. Critical MPs, on the other hand, claim that the measures will fail.

Additionally, many Conservative Party members see the demand for Covid passes – demonstrating full immunisation or a recent negative test for the virus – as a severe violation of people's civil liberties.

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