First UK death with Omicron as variant spreading at ‘tremendous’ rate

Boris Johnson said at least one person in the UK had died from the Omicron variant of Covid-19, as he refused to rule out stricter restrictions before Christmas.

The British Prime Minister said during his visit to the vaccination clinic near Paddington in west London: «Unfortunately, yes, Omicron is hospitalization and unfortunately at least one patient has been confirmed to have died from Omicron.

«So I think the idea that this is a milder version of the virus, I think this is something we need to put to one side and just get a sense of the absolute pace that it’s accelerating in the population. So the best thing we can do is get our boosters.»

Hundreds of people queued for Covid vaccines in British cities on Monday and home test kits ran out after Johnson warned that the «tidal wave» of the Omicron variant could overwhelm those vaccinated with two doses.

Since the first cases of Omicron were discovered on November 27 in the UK, Johnson has imposed stricter restrictions, and on Sunday urged people to get booster doses to prevent health services being overwhelmed.

Health Minister Sajid Javid said the coronavirus Omicron variant is spreading at a «tremendous rate» and now accounts for about 40 per cent of infections in London.

At the vaccination center at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London, a queue of hundreds of people crept back to Westminster Bridge. Reuters reporters have also documented queues in queues across London and Manchester, northern England.

«The Covid Vaccine Reservation Service is currently experiencing very high demand, so it is operating on a waiting system,» the National Health Service said on Twitter. «For all others with waiting periods, we recommend trying again later today or tomorrow.»

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