Omicron cases surge by a third for second day in a row as Boris Johnson prepares for Plan B
CASES of new variant Omicron have surged by 30 per cent in a day as the Prime Minister prepares to bring in more Covid restrictions.
There are currently 568 cases of Omicron in the UK, this is up from yesterday's total of 437.
The UK's Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said that overnight, 131 cases had been discovered.
Of the new cases 115 are in England, 9 are in Scotland, 4 in Wales and 3 in Northern Ireland.
The update on cases comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce Plan B restricitions.
These rules would include working from home and the use of vaccine passports.
Government sources today told The Sun that the tough measures could take effect as early as tomorrow morning.
Only days ago the Government was urging Brits to press ahead with festive party plans and said they had no intention to push the panic button.
But rapidly rising cases of the mutation – and evidence vaccines may not be as effective – have bounced the PM into rapid action.
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Scientists warn that up to 1,000 Brits each day could now be catching the highly contagious form of the virus — with new cases doubling every three days.
Downing St has said no decisions have yet been taken but refused to rule out Plan B restrictions today.
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It comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) said existing Covid jabs should work against the Omicron variant.
Top scientists said it was “highly unlikely” super-strain Omicron could completely evade protection offered by jabs.
This means that on a population scale, the vaccines will still have an impact, while for individuals, the jabs should still prevent severe disease for the majority.
WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said: "We have highly effective vaccines that have proved effective against all the variants so far, in terms of severe disease and hospitalisation… There's no reason to expect that it wouldn't be so [for Omicron].”
Other strains of the coronavirus have been shown to weaken vaccine protection, including Delta which is the most dominant version of coronavirus in the UK.
However, Dr Ryan suggested that, despite Omicron having considerably more mutations, this would not make it more of a problem.
Despite experts having hailed the protection of vaccines, Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon this week asked Scots to work from home until January as Omicron cases continue to rise.
In England, Mr Johnson is set to unveil his plan later today after it was this morning announced that millions more Brits would be able to come forward for their Covid boosters.
Health chiefs have cut the gap between second and third doses from six to three months.
In a bid to speed up rollout, the NHS will allow adults to secure their booster slot a month in advance.
It means all over-40s who had their second jab earlier than October 8 can now nab a vaccine appointment on the national booking service from today.
Officials said it will gradually open up to younger Brits later in the month.
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