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The UK said Monday that the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus is spreading at a “phenomenal rate” and accounts for around 40 per cent of all infections in London, so Britons should get additional doses of the vaccine.
Since the first cases of the Omicron variant were detected on November 27 in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed stricter restrictions and told the country on Sunday that an Omicron “tidal wave” was imminent.
Quoted from the Channel News Asia page, Monday (12/13/2021), the UK said that if no action was taken. There could be a million people infected with Omicron, which scientists say can still infect double-vaccinated people, by the end of the month.
“What we now know about Omicron is … it’s spreading at a phenomenal rate, something we’ve never seen before, it’s doubling every two to three days in infection,” Health Minister Sajid Javid told Sky News.
“That means we are facing a tidal wave of infections, we are once again in a race between vaccines and viruses.”
Push Vaccine BoosterJohnson, who is grappling with an insurgency in his party over measures to curb the spread of Omicron and protests over alleged Downing Street parties during last year’s lockdown, said people should rush to get booster vaccines to protect “our freedoms and our way of life”.
Data released on Friday showed that the vaccine’s efficacy against symptomatic infection was substantially reduced against Omicron with just two doses, but the third dose increased protection by more than 70 percent.
Although Javid said there have been no confirmed deaths in the UK and only 10 people have been hospitalized in the UK with the variant, he said Omicron may be behind around 40 per cent of infections in London.
He said that while the symptoms of the variant may be milder, its rapid spread means that if the government does not act then health services could be overwhelmed.
“Even when the virus is mild, a fraction of the very large number of people can still match the high number of hospitalizations,” Javid said.
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