The total number of cases in the UK now stands at 104, with a further 16 cases being identified in Scotland – bringing the total there to 29 and one confirmed case in Wales
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Another 75 cases of the Covid-19 Omicron variant have been found in England.
The total number of cases in England now stands at 104, with a further 16 cases being identified in Scotland – bringing the total there to 29.
There is also one confirmed case in Wales and no reported cases so far in Northern Ireland – meaning a total of 34 cases have so far been identified in the UK.
Dr Jenny Harries, UKHSA chief executive, said: “Increased case detection through focused contact tracing has led to more cases of the Omicron variant being identified and confirmed, as we have seen in other countries globally.
“We are continuing to monitor the data closely. Teams nationally and locally are working at pace to identify and trace all close contacts of every Omicron case. It is critical that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms isolates and gets a PCR test immediately.
“We have started to see cases where there are no links to travel, suggesting that we have a small amount of community transmission. That’s why it’s so important that everybody, everywhere, takes simple steps to protect themselves from infection.
“Please wear face coverings in line with government guidance, let in fresh air when mixing indoors and wash your hands regularly.
“Vaccination is critical to help us bolster our defences against this new variant so please get your first, second, third or booster jab as soon as you are eligible to protect yourself, your families and your communities.”
This morning a spokesman for the UK Health Security Agency told The Mirror that targeted testing is being carried out for the variant.
This means that not every positive PCR test is screened for the new strain.
At the weekend Boris Johnson announced a range of measures aimed at halting Omicron’s spread, including compulsory PCR testing for all travellers arriving in the UK from abroad.
Contacts of those identified as having the strain are also required to isolate for 10 days, regardless of whether they have vaccinated.
Officials say it is too early to tell how worried we should be about the variant, with Brits urged to show caution.
The strain has been classified as “of concern” by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
It is feared that Omicron could prove resistant to vaccines because of the number of mutations in its spike protein.
This affects how it responds to antibodies in the immune system, and the way it enters human cells.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.