UK Covid daily death toll hits 125 as infections increase by 44% in one week

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A worrying 90,418 people have tested positive for Covid in the last 24 hours as Omicron continues to rip through the UK.

Department of Health figures show a further 125 lives have been lost to the virus as the new variant Omicron continues it’s “tidal wave” across the UK, as Boris Johnson warned.

More than 513,574 infections have been confirmed in the past seven days.

A total of 900 people have been admitted to hospital and in the last seven days that figure totals 6,056.

In the past week, 787 people have died within 28 days of contracting the virus, with the official Covid death toll now standing at 147,173.

Another 10,059 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported in the UK, taking the total to 24,968.

Official figures now show that 817,625 people have got their Covid booster jab in the last 24 hours. More than 27 million vaccines have now been delivered in total.

It comes as the government is reportedly drawing up possible plans for a two-week ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown after Christmas.

Indoor mixing with people who you don’t live with may be banned for two weeks in a bid to slow the spread of Omicron.

Sources have told The Times that ministers will be shown these plans “imminently”.

The paper reports how under a new ‘Step 2’ set of rules, people would only be able to mix indoors for work purposes. Pubs and restaurants would have to serve people outside again.

Outside meetings would have to stick to the ‘rule of six’ and shielding would return for people who are vulnerable.

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Schools and shops would stay open under the plans, however.

Leaked minutes from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), seen by the BBC, reportedly said scientists had told ministers that tougher measures need to be brought in “very soon”.

The BBC reported that the advisers had recommended moving to restrictions seen in step one and two of the easing of lockdown restrictions in the spring. This included a ban on indoor mixing and indoor hospitality.

And they reportedly warned against delaying further interventions until 2022.

Under-fire Mr Johnson is expected to hold a Cobra meeting over the weekend with leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to respond to the Omicron crisis.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged people to limit social contacts at Christmas after three record-breaking days which has seen the Department of Health confirm the highest number of cases of the entire pandemic.

While Welsh leader Mark Drakeford announced nightclubs would close from Boxing Day.

Mr Johnson, anxious to avoid a repeat of last year’s Christmas shambles, has so far resisted calls to go beyond his Plan B.

England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has warned that new records would be set in coming days as the Omicron variant ripped through the country.

In a Downing Street press conference during the week, he said: “I am afraid we have to be realistic that records will be broken a lot as rates continue to increase in the next few weeks.”

Prof Whitty said that the full impact of Omicron would be apparent in weeks to come, but painted a bleak picture.

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“There are lots of things we don’t know, but all the things we do know are bad,” he said.

“There will be substantial numbers (in hospital), that will become apparent after Christmas… that is a reasonably nailed on prospect.”

The first two cases of Omicron were identified in the UK on November 27.

The Prime Minister is urging Brits to support the huge national booster campaign, having said that all adults would be offered a booster jab by Christmas.

The chief medical officer said that Omicron cases were rising in all regions of England.

Latest figures from the UK Health Security Agency state that XXX Omicrons have been confirmed through genomic sequencing, but the real number is undoubtedly higher.

But full genomic testing is a slow process, with a quick test – known as the S Gene Failure – revealing numbers are rising steeply in all regions, Prof Whitty said.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the House of Commons on Monday that the real number of Omicron infections could be as high as 200,000 a day.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has today (December 18) declared a ‘major incident’ in the capital as Omicron rips through the city.

The UK’s eight worst Covid hotspots are now in London, where the variant has become the dominant strain, causing the overall cases to double in just a week.

Declaring the major incident, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The surge in cases of the Omicron variant across our capital is hugely concerning, so we are once again declaring a major incident because of the threat of COVID-19 to our city.

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“The Omicron variant has quickly become dominant with cases increasing rapidly and the number of patients in our hospitals with COVID-19 on the rise again.

Figures released earlier today show that Covid-19 case rates for London and eastern England have risen to their highest level since early January.

A total of 702.8 new cases per 100,000 people were recorded in London in the week to December 12.

This is up sharply from 475.8 the previous week and is the highest rate for the capital since the week to January 10.

The rise has been driven by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, with some boroughs in London currently experiencing the steepest jump in rates of any local authorities in the UK.

Omicron has already become the dominant variant of the virus in the capital, but is now having an impact in other parts of the country.

Eastern England’s rate stands at 616.5 cases per 100,000, up week-on-week from 563.2 and the highest since the week to January 10.

North-west England has recorded a small week-on-week rise, up from 412.2 to 430.0.



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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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