On Monday, Britain’s deputy prime minister Dominic Raab said 12 people infected with the Omicron virus have died in the country, but he refused to rule out more restrictions before Christmas. The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in the run-up to the festival has left the British authorities in a pickle, with reports of a two-week circuit-breaker lockdown.
Given the alarming rate of transmission, which could overwhelm the health system, health specialists have begun to downplay the initial claim of “mild” sickness from Omicron as compared to the Delta version. Over 37,000 confirmed instances of Omicron have been reported in the United Kingdom, with the majority of cases discovered in the last two days.
Officials have warned that the entire impact of the update on Omicron in the UK will not be known for some time. While the severity of the disease caused by the new variety of concerns is unknown, 12 deaths linked to Omicron could force the government to take more stringent steps in the coming days.
According to Raab, 104 Covid patients are now being treated with Omicron in hospitals. The government’s suggestion to people to reduce social contacts in the run-up to Christmas has left bars and restaurants mainly vacant during what should be one of their busiest periods.
Prof Whitty predicted last week that the UK would have a shorter, quicker surge of cases than Delta, similar to South Africa.
London, the leading edge of the Omicron wave and hence a hint of where the rest of the country is headed, may have already achieved that peak. With hundreds of thousands of people thought to be self-isolating as a result of positive tests, many people’s decision to take lateral flow tests before seeing relatives during the holidays is likely to have helped suppress cases.
The New Year will be celebrated in England as usual under Plan B. Several Cabinet ministers and Conservative backbenchers will be happy, but specialists concerned about January hospital demand will be alarmed.
Hospitality operators have asked for financial assistance. Johnson expressed remorse for the impact on the hospitality industry and stated that the government would “keep the economic side of this under constant review.”
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