Another 17,269 Omicron cases reported in UK as variant claims 49 lives

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Another 17,269 Omicron cases reported in UK as variant claims 49 lives

Another 17,269 additional confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 have been reported across the UK, it was revealed on Tuesday.

This brings the total confirmed cases of the variant in the UK to 177,201 although no case numbers have been reported in Scotland or Wales since December 23.

The number of deaths in England of people with the Omicron variant has risen to 49, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Hospital admissions in England for people with confirmed or suspected Omicron rose to 668.

The figures come as Boris Johnson on Monday confirmed no new restrictions would be brought in to curb the spread of the variant before the New Year.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said that, while ministers continued to monitor the data closely, the early evidence suggested Omicron was not leading to a big increase in hospital admissions, as happened in previous waves.

“There is early encouragement from what we know in South Africa, that you have fewer hospitalisations and that the number of days that they stay in hospital, if they do go into hospital, is also lower than in previous variants,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“At the moment we don’t think that the evidence supports any more interventions beyond what we have done.

“But obviously we have got to keep it under very close review, because if it is the case that we started to see a big increase in hospitalisations then we would need to act further.”

Meanwhile, nearly half of London’s boroughs reported Covid case rates of more than one in 50 in the run-up to Christmas, according to analysis by the Standard.

In the week to December 22, 14 London boroughs reported case rates of at least 2,000 per 100,000 of population - equivalent to at least one in 50 people testing positive.

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