By Claire Gordon •
Published: 17 Dec 2021 • 17:07
The UK has reported another 3,201 new Omicron cases in the last 24-hour period as the variant becomes the dominant strain in several parts of the country, including Scotland and London. The number of confirmed cases of the new variant is now 14,909.
Yesterday 16 December there were 1,691 cases recorded, but experts have warned that there will be many more new Omicron cases in the community and not yet detected. It comes a day after a record 88,376 confirmed COVID cases were announced, following a previous daily high on Wednesday of 78,610, as reported by Sky News.
In England, the R number, which measures the rate of infection, has risen to between 1.0 and 1.2, compared with last week when it was estimated at between 0.9 and 1.1. It means every 10 people infected are likely to pass the disease to between 10 and 12 others.
When the value is above 1, it means the epidemic is thought to be growing.
Reports are showing that Omicron is much more transmissible than Delta and new research suggests that it has the ability to mostly evade past immunity from coronavirus infection or two vaccine doses. The study from Imperial College London showed effectiveness against symptomatic Omicron infection of between 0% and 20% after two jabs, and between 55% and 80% after a booster dose.
Boris Johnson has warned Omicron is a “very serious threat – we are seeing a considerable wave of new Omicron cases coming through”. He said people have “got to be prepared” and the best thing everybody can do is “get boosted now”.
The prime minister added that people need to “budget their risk” but we are not in the same position as last year of “shutting things down”.
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