OVER 19,544 cases of the Omicron variant were reported in the UK today as Britons prepare for New Year celebrations.
Today’s increase in infections brings the total to 229,666, but experts insist that this variant is milder than previous ones.
Omicron is currently responsible for 90% of cases in the UK and was taken over from the Delta variant.
It comes as a chain extremely active research showed that Omicron IS was milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalization as 50 to 70% lower than Delta.
Health officials have repeatedly said the Covid booster shots protect against Omicron and offer the best chance of weathering the pandemic.
The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is helping to get vital additional vaccines in the UK’s arms to avoid the need for any new restrictions.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said today would be the last day Omicron cases were reported separately.
Ahead of tomorrow’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, Britons have been urged to be sensible when it comes to gatherings and parties.
Earlier this week, Health Secretary Sajid Javid urged people to take a lateral flow test before going out.
But the shortage of both lateral flow tests and PCR kits means that many people currently do not have access to the tests.
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The government last night said that testing was ‘not a requirement’ to go out this new year.
The rush for lateral flow tests may be due to NYE celebrations and a change in isolation rules.
The change in rules means those who test negative on Friday and Saturday while in isolation can be released – meaning many Britons who have missed Christmas, could celebrate the New Year.
A No 10 spokesman said that checking in is not a mandatory requirement to go out this New Year.
They said Time: “People should be cautious, and testing is one of the palliative measures,.
“The government doesn’t tell people they shouldn’t go out. It’s about personal responsibility. But of course everyone should take the test if possible.”
Professor Peter Openshaw, of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said the conditions at the New Year’s Eve gathering were “perfect” for the spread of the coronavirus.
Experts today say the lack of tests is problematic.
“I think that’s really worrying,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“We know the situations where transmissions occur and fortunately I don’t think we’re facing the kind of lockdown needed to deal with as early as this year.
“But we do know that cramming together in poorly ventilated spaces, especially if you’re shouting over loud music etc., is absolutely perfect in terms of transmitting this very, very contagious virus. “
https://www.the-sun.com/health/4364900/uk-omicron-cases-rise-brits-gear-cautious-new-year/ UK Omicron cases rise by 19,544 as Britons prepare for ‘cautious’ New Year celebrations