UK Covid cases increase by 15% in a week as ‘more transmissible’ Omicron variant spreads

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It comes as the number of Omicron cases has hit 437, with a confirmed 101 new infections. This is an increase from yesterday when 90 new cases of the new Covid variant were recorded

Queues in Westminister at the Abbey Centre for booster jabs
Queues in Westminister at the Abbey Centre for booster jabs

A further 180 people have lost their lives to Covid-19 in the UK, while the country has recorded 45,691 new cases over the past 24 hours.

It comes as the number of Omicron cases has hit 437, with 101 new infections confirmed by the UK Health Security Agency today.

This is an increase from yesterday when 90 new cases of the new Covid variant were recorded.

The official death toll from the deadly virus now stands at 145,826 across the course of the pandemic.

Coronavirus cases recorded remain steady compared to the previous two Tuesdays.

Today’s total of 45,691 is 15% more than 39,716 recorded seven days ago, and 7.5% more than the 42,482 reported the week before that.

The new Covid cases recorded today mark a 12.1% increase on the seven day average, with 336,893 new cases recorded over the past week.

Yesterday, 51,459 new infections were recorded across the UK, and 41 deaths.

Queues at covid testing centre today at Express Test Brent Cross
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Evening Standard / eyevine)

The number of Covid cases recorded daily have been rising again since early November, though the UK’s successful vaccination programme appears to have largely broken the link between infections and deaths.

As cases continue in an upwards trajectory, concerns are growing about the Omicron variant.

Of the 101 new infections recorded today, 72 cases were in England, 28 in Scotland and one in Wales.

The strain was first located in the UK in Chelmsford and Nottingham on November 27, 2021, after initially detected in southern Africa. Since then, cases have been rapidly increasing across the country.

An expert yesterday said there are likely to be more than 1,000 cases of Omicron in the UK, just 10 days after the coronavirus was first discovered.

The UK government has tightened travel rules due to the spread of the Omicron variant
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Image:

Getty Images)

Professor Paul Hunter, from the school of medicine at the University of East Anglia , said: “is spreading rather more quickly than the Delta variant”.

“How it’s likely to spread in the UK still uncertain, but I think the early signs are that it will probably spread quite quickly and probably start outcompeting Delta and become the dominant variant probably within the next weeks or a month or so at least,” he added.

New rules designed to slow the spread of the variant has seen travellers have to take a pre-departure test before travelling to England from today, amid warnings that the time between infection and infectiousness could be shorter with the new strain.

Mixed messaging around the new rules has caused frustration for travelers, with confusion over whether a pre-departure test needed to be done two days before or not more than 48 hours from take-off.

The new regulations only came into force on Tuesday morning, leaving many passengers in a scramble and confused over when they need to take a PCR test to ensure they are eligible to travel.

Different publications from the UK government appeared to be advising travellers differently.

While one said tests must be taken ‘no earlier than 48 hours before’, another advising ‘in the two days before’, and yet another said it was ‘two days before’ travel.

Travellers took to social media in a bid to get answers from the government but, in some cases, matters were complicated further by government Twitter accounts telling passengers to ignore its previously published guidance.

The Foreign Office told one traveller: “Please follow the guidance regarding the pre-departure test as opposed to the press release.”

Many were left furious that the lack of clarity meant they were giving up hours of their holiday to get tests they were unsure would be eligible or necessary.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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