Department of Health figures show a further 147 lives have been lost to the coronavirus, as the country continues to be ravaged by the new Omicron variant
The UK has recorded a surge of 119,789 Covid-19 cases, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic and a 35 per cent increase in just one week.
Department of Health figures show a further 147 lives have been lost to the virus as the country continues to be ravaged by the new Omicron variant.
There were 1,000 Covid hospitalisations when data was last submitted to the coronavirus dashboard.
Last Thursday, on December 16, 88,376 cases were reported, which at the time was the highest figure of the pandemic so far. The Department of Health recorded 146 deaths last Thursday, just one less than today’s figure.
It comes after a record-breaking 106,122 cases were confirmed yesterday – up from 78,610 last Wednesday.
A total of 301 Covid-19 admissions were recorded by hospitals in London on December 20, NHS England said.
Dinendra Haria / LNP)
This is up 78% week-on-week and the highest number for a single day since February 7.
Admissions in London during the second wave peaked at 977 on January 6.
Imperial College London research indicates people with Omicron are 15-20% less likely to enter hospital, and 40-45% less likely to need a hospital stay of one night or more, than people with Delta.
Yet Imperial warned this “appears to be offset” by the speed at which the variant is spreading – with confirmed cases topping 100,000 a day for the first time.
Imperial’s Professor Paul Elliott warned the R number is “now substantially above 1” due to Omicron.
Despite rising cases, Boris Johnson is not expected to make any announcement on new Covid restrictions for England until after Boxing Day.
Press Association Images)
As December 27 and 28 are both bank holidays, and with Parliament taking around two days to recall, that could suggest no measures would take force until around December 29 at the earliest.
Mr Johnson is under mounting pressure to act after Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland all spelt out stringent measures as soon as Boxing Day.
But it’s thought he has delayed any announcement until December 27 at the earliest after a Cabinet spat – and data suggesting the Omicron variant is less severe.
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford yesterday accused Boris Johnson of “paralysis” and urged him to act over soaring Omicron rates.
Yet Tory MPs are mutinous about any prospect of new restrictions, with 100 alone rebelling over face masks and Covid passports for nightclubs.
One source told the FT legally enforceable measures were not likely to take force before 2022 – though ‘guidance’ before then was possible.
“We would struggle to see regulations kick in before the new year,” a Whitehall official told the paper.
The Prime Minister has previously looked at returning to ‘step 2’ style measures with pubs and restaurants serving outdoor only.
There would also be restrictions on indoor gatherings under such measures, which were urged by SAGE advisors.
But a source told the FT: “The PM hasn’t looked at options yet … There’s still not enough data to justify further restrictions.”