‘Major accident’ announced in London as UK Omicron cases rise

The United Kingdom reported an increase in Omicron coronavirus cases on Saturday which government advisers said may be just the tip of the iceberg, and the Mayor of London declared a «major incident» to help the city’s hospitals cope.

Britain’s Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the number of Omicron cases registered across the country stood at 25,000 as of 6pm on Friday, more than 10,000 more than 24 hours earlier.

Seven people believed to have contracted the Omicron variant died as of Thursday, up from one death in previous UKHSA data that ran through Tuesday. The number of hospital admissions of people believed to have the variant increased to 85 from 65.

The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said it was «almost certain» that hundreds of thousands of people were infected with the variant every day and not captured in the numbers.

Without further tightening of Covid-19 rules, Sage said, «Modeling points to a peak of at least 3,000 hospital admissions per day in England,» they said. In the minutes of the meeting on December 16.

Last January, before Britain’s vaccination campaign accelerated, the number of daily hospital admissions in the UK rose to more than 4,000.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced a rebellion in his ruling Conservative party over some of the measures he has taken so far to try to curb the spread of the latest Covid-19.

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