UK hikes virus alert stage as omicron variant surges

Folks put on face coverings as they stroll by means of Westminster, in London, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has introduced tighter restrictions to stem the unfold of the omicron variant. He’s once more urging individuals to do business from home and mandating COVID-19 passes to get into nightclubs and huge occasions. Credit score: AP Photograph/Frank Augstein

The British authorities raised the nation’s official coronavirus risk stage on Sunday, warning the fast unfold of the omicron variant had pushed the U.Ok. into dangerous territory.

The chief medical officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Eire stated the emergence of the extremely transmissible new pressure “provides extra and quickly growing danger to the general public and well being care companies” at a time when COVID-19 is already widespread. They really helpful elevating the alert stage from 3 to 4 on a 5-point scale. The highest stage, 5, signifies authorities suppose the well being care system is about to be overwhelmed.

The docs stated early proof reveals omicron is spreading a lot sooner than the presently dominant delta variant, and that vaccines supply much less safety in opposition to it. British officers say omicron is more likely to change delta because the dominant pressure within the U.Ok. inside days.

“Knowledge on severity will change into clearer over the approaching weeks however hospitalizations from omicron are already occurring and these are more likely to enhance quickly,” they stated.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was because of make a televised assertion about Britain’s coronavirus state of affairs and the booster vaccination marketing campaign on Sunday night.

Considerations in regards to the new variant led Johnson’s Conservative authorities to reintroduce restrictions that have been lifted virtually six months in the past. Masks have to be worn in most indoor settings, vaccine certificates have to be proven to enter nightclubs and individuals are being urged to do business from home if attainable.

Many scientists say that is unlikely to be sufficient, nevertheless, and are calling for more durable measures.

Johnson’s authorities is making an attempt to keep away from that, however goals to supply everybody 18 and over a booster shot by the tip of January.

Scientists in South Africa, the place omicron was first recognized, say they see indicators it could trigger much less extreme illness than delta, however warning that it’s too quickly to make certain.

The U.Ok. Well being Safety Company stated Friday that each the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines seem much less efficient in stopping symptomatic infections in individuals uncovered to omicron, although preliminary information present that effectiveness seems to rise to between 70{58e281ace639831ddb6d8687333e7c2b02e87c7c548a0119c43312a5ff3c7894} and 75{58e281ace639831ddb6d8687333e7c2b02e87c7c548a0119c43312a5ff3c7894} after a 3rd vaccine dose.


UK scientists urge extra restrictions to combat omicron surge


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