8 COVID hotspots as UK urges boosters for all adults to battle Omicron

Health Secretary Sajid Javid updating MPs on the governments coronavirus plans, in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Monday July 12, 2021. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Health secretary Sajid Javid insisted the booster programme is the main form of defence from the variant. (Getty)

Some eight local authorities in the UK are currently recording a weekly rate of new COVID cases higher than 750 infections per 100,000 people.

It comes as the UK battles to keep the Omicron variant under control, with the government announcing on Monday that all people aged 18 and over will be offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine.

Across the UK as a whole, a further 42,583 cases of coronavirus were reported in the most recent 24 hours.

Another 35 people were confirmed to have died, which now puts the official COVID death toll at 144,810.

Watch: Can existing vaccines protect against Omicron?

Many of the worst-hit areas for infections are in the South West, with the highest current rate in Torridge, Devon, with a seven-day rolling case rate of 1,081.2 new cases per 100,000 people.

The UK’s seven-day rolling rate of infections is up 3.7% compared to this time last week.

These are the UK's eight COVID hotspots, and their weekly COVID case rates

  1. Torridge: 1,081.2 cases per 100,000 people

  2. North Devon: 895.4 cases per 100,000 people

  3. Mid Sussex: 889.3 cases per 100,000 people

  4. Gwynedd: 858 cases per 100,000 people

  5. Elmbridge: 848.3 cases per 100,000 people

  6. Guildford: 820.1 cases per 100,000 people

  7. Wycombe: 782.1 cases per 100,000 people

  8. Tandridge: 762.4 cases per 100,000 people

The map below show's the UK's rate of new COVID cases by local authority area. The higher the case rate, the darker the colour.

Map showing COVID hotspots in the UK
Map showing COVID hotspots in the UK

Speaking in parliament on Monday, health secretary Sajid Javid failed to rule out any future lockdown when urged to do so by Tory MP Richard Drax.

Instead he insisted that "putting the booster programme on steroids” is the country's main form of defence.

Deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the booster campaign was “as urgent as it could possibly be” – but added people should not panic over the new variant.

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He told a Downing Street press conference: “I want to be clear this is not all doom and gloom at this stage and I do not want people to panic at this stage.

“If vaccine effectiveness is reduced, as seems pretty likely to some extent.

“The biggest effects are likely to be in preventing infections and hopefully there will be smaller effects on preventing severe disease."

However, it could be three more weeks before further details emerge from scientists on how transmissible the variant is, whether it evades vaccine protection, and whether it causes more severe disease.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: A woman receives her Covid-19 vaccination booster jab at the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Health & Wellbeing Centre on November 10, 2021 in the Stratford area of London, England. Over 10 million people have now received their Covid-19 vaccine boosters in the UK, as the government has allowed people over 50 and the clinically vulnerable to receive third jabs. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
All people aged 18 and over will be offered a COVID-19 booster. (Getty)

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) identified two further cases of the Omicron variant in England on Monday, bringing the total to five.

The individuals who tested positive are not connected and are not linked to the previously confirmed cases.

One case is located in Camden, London, and the other case is located in Wandsworth, London. Both have travel links to southern Africa.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) also advised that young people aged 12 to 15 should be offered a second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, no sooner than 12 weeks after their first dose.

Further advice said that severely immunosuppressed people should be offered a booster dose no sooner than three months after completing their primary course of three doses.

The JCVI said that both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines can be given as a booster for adults – with equal preference given to both.

Watch: Booster programme 'has never been more vital', says Van-Tam