UK’s confirmed Omicron death toll rises to 12

Twelve people across Britain have now died after catching the Omicron variant of Covid, according to Independent.

The latest figures from the UK Health Security Agency also show 104 people have been admitted to hospital with confirmed Omicron infections.

Some 12,133 new confirmed cases of Omicron were also reported on Sunday, bringing the total across the UK to 37,1010.

However, these figures are likely to be undercounting the true numbers, as not all Covid cases are checked in labs to ascertain if they are the Omicron variant or not.

Experts on the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) have warned there are probably already hundreds of thousands of new Omicron infections every day in England alone.

They also believe there could be 10 times the confirmed number of hospital admissions with the new variant due to a lag in reporting.

The latest figures for all Covid cases on Sunday reveal a further 82,886 people have tested positive and 900 were admitted to hospital.

Deaths from all form of coronavirus are still declining slightly over the past week, although because they run around a fortnight behind infections and hospitalisations, experts expect this figure to also rise shortly.

It remains unknown exactly how severe cases caused by Omicron will be, compared to the previously dominant Delta variant.

The mounting evidence of the spiralling Omicron wave is, however, forcing ministers to consider tougher restrictions to try and slow down the spread of the virus to prevent it from overwhelming the NHS.

Leaked reports from Sage reveal advisors have recommended to the government new rules limiting social contact and household mixing be brought in immediately.

However, it is reported many in the cabinet, including prime minister Boris Johnson and the chancellor Rishi Sunak, are reluctant to go further than the current rules which mandate mask wearing indoors and working from home if you can.

While some others, such as health secretary Sajid Javid, are reportedly open to imposing some form of lockdown, it is thought ministers would on the whole prefer to offer non-legally binding guidance along the lines already introduced by Scotland to limit indoor socialising with other households.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, whose city is the epicentre of Britain’s Omicron outbreak, is thrown his weight behind new restrictions, warning if they are not brought in soon the NHS would be on the “verge of collapse” as so many workers are off sick or isolating.

However, the deputy prime minister and justice secretary Dominic Raab, while admitting the time lag in hospitalisation and death data meant we do not yet know how severe Omicron will be, said he did not support any kind of lockdown.

“The one thing we do know is that those that get the booster jab get over 70% effective protection, which is why the strategy we have got, I believe at the moment subject to being reviewed constantly, is the right one which is encouraging people to get their boosters,” he told Times Radio on Monday.

“I think 5 per cent of adults have now had their booster and then proceeding with Plan B, which is encouraging people to work from home where they can and masks in particularly crowded places.”

“I think that is the right strategy until we’ve got firmer, harder data.”



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