Europe

UK records another 82,886 cases as Omicron keeps surging

The UK recorded another surge of coronavirus cases on Sunday, as the Omicron variant continued to spread rapidly across the UK.

Cases have been around an unprecedented 90,000 mark for three consecutive days – but dropped to 82,886 on Sunday.

It is still one of the highest new infection totals since the pandemic began, but experts fear recent numbers will be dwarfed in the coming days and weeks.

There is still uncertainty about the severity of the new Covid-19 strain, but scientists have said that even if it is milder and a smaller percentage of cases need hospital treatment, the NHS is likely to be overwhelmed regardless when the sheer number of infections translate into hospitalisations.

The UK also saw another 45 deaths on Sunday, though weekend days tend to see a lower figure due to a lag in reporting.

Some 147,218 deaths within 28 days of a positive test have now been officially confirmed, though Covid-19 appears on the death certificate 170,911 Brits, according to Government data.

On Sunday morning, the Health Secretary conceded that he could not rule out more restrictions before Christmas. Sajid Javid also blasted unvaccinated patients for taking up crucial bed space in the under-strain NHS.

There are also rumours of a Boxing Day Covid crackdown, while countries in Europe are going into full lock down.

Infection numbers are now spiralling out of control thanks to the more infectious variant, and records are likely to be repeatedly broken.

The Government has previously faced criticism for delaying Covid restrictions and then having to implement harsher ones for longer as the situation deteriorates.

Many fear the same mistake is now being made again.

Earlier, Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, said new restrictions are ‘inevitable’.

The UK Health and Security Agency said on Sunday afternoon that 12,133 new Omicron cases had been confirmed in the latest 24 hour period, taking the official count to 37,101.

But experts believe the true number is multiples higher and the new variant is the reason behind the recent surge.

Scientists have stressed the importance of acting fast to tackle Omicron with one NHS boss warning that pressure on trusts in London is ‘mounting rapidly’.

Sage member Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter said timing was crucial.

He told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday: ‘We can’t wait for hospitalisations to go through the roof before we do something about it, because by then it’s too late.

‘And in fact what happens by the end of this year is pretty well built-in now. There’s almost pretty well nothing we can do about it.’

Meanwhile, more than 126 million vaccination doses in total have now been administered across the UK, with boosters jabs reported at a record 906,656 doses on Saturday.

More than 51 million first doses, 47 million second jabs and 28 million boosters have been administered overall.

This is a breaking news story, more to follow soon… Check back shortly for further updates.

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