Omicron now represents about 40% of coronavirus cases in London, said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

UK sees first death due to Omicron variant: PM Boris JohnsonFile Photo/Facebook
news Coronavirus Monday, December 13, 2021 - 18:07
Written by  Agencies

The UK has seen its first death from Omicron, even as the latest variant of the coronavirus is expected to comprise 50% of the cases in London by Tuesday, December 14, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, December 13. "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,” Johnson said. 

“So the best thing we can do is all get our boosters," he said during his visit to a vaccination clinic near Paddington, in west London, according to media reports. Omicron now represents about 40% of coronavirus cases in London and is reportedly set to rise to over 50% in a day. "The risk is plainly there, we can see Omicron spiking now in London and some other parts of the country," Johnson said.

"Here in the capital it probably represents about 40% of the cases. By tomorrow it'll be the majority of the cases and it's increasing the whole time,” he added. 

Long queues were seen outside walk-in vaccination centres across the UK on Monday as people queued for their booster vaccine doses, even as the government's work from home guidance came in force as part of measures to tackle the infections due to Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Johnson issued an urgent televised address on the night of December 12, and announced an enhanced Omicron Emergency Boost campaign, which sets an end of the year deadline for all adults aged over 18 to be offered a third top-up dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

This brings forward his previous timeline of January 2022 for this target in an effort to build a "wall of vaccine protection" against the new variant.

The UK's COVID alert level has been raised to level four which means a high or rising level of transmission for the first time since May due to the spread of Omicron. A further 1,239 new cases of Omicron were announced in the UK on Sunday, bringing the total number of UK Omicron cases to more than 3,000 and the total number of COVID-19 infections to 48,854.

With PTI and IANS inputs