UK raises coronavirus alert level over Omicron threat – POLITICO


LONDON — The British public and well being companies are at “quickly rising danger” from COVID-19, the U.Okay.’s most senior well being officers warned, amid rising concern in regards to the Omicron variant.

The U.Okay. is shifting to COVID-19 alert “level 4,” the U.Okay.’s chief medical officers and NHS England Nationwide Medical Director Stephen Powis mentioned in a joint assertion. This implies transmission of the virus is excessive, and strain on well being care companies is “widespread and substantial or rising.”

Boris Johnson will tackle the nation at 8 p.m. native time on Sunday night time to offer an replace on the nation’s vaccine booster program.

“Transmission of COVID-19 is already excessive locally, primarily nonetheless pushed by Delta, however the emergence of Omicron provides further and quickly rising danger to the general public and healthcare companies,” the assertion mentioned.

Training Secretary Nadhim Zahawi earlier informed Sky Information there at the moment are “instances in hospital with Omicron” — and warned that tens of hundreds of Britons may find yourself hospitalized.

Chief Medical Adviser on the UK’s Well being Safety Company Susan Hopkins informed the BBC an enormous wave is “coming straight at us.”

“If we see even half the severity that we noticed with Delta then we’re going through a really giant variety of hospitalizations and potential deaths,” she added. Hopkins mentioned the federal government — which final week moved to tighten COVID restrictions — “could must transcend” even the additional measures set to be debated by MPs on Tuesday.

Face masks are already set change into obligatory in most public indoor venues, an NHS Covid Cross will change into obligatory for giant occasions, requiring a adverse check or full vaccination. Individuals have been requested to work at home if they will.

“This can be very essential that in case you are eligible, you get your COVID vaccination now – whether or not this be your first, second or booster dose,” the well being officers’ assertion mentioned.