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UK reports first death from Omicron variant

The United Kingdom has reported the first death from the Omicron COVID variant on Monday.

The confirmation was made by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Speaking during a visit to a vaccination clinic in Paddington, West London, PM Johnson said: ‘Sadly yes Omicron is producing hospitalizations and sadly at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron.

‘So I think the idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus, I think that’s something we need to set on one side and just recognize the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population. So the best thing we can do is all get our boosters.’ 

As of Sunday, there have been 3,137 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the UK.

On the other hand, the UK has raised its COVID alert level due to the “rapid increase” in cases of the Omicron variant, the country’s four chief medical officers said in a joint statement.

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The four chief medical officers (for England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) said on Sunday that the public health risk assessment would move from level three to four – the second-highest level – which indicates “transmission is high and pressure on healthcare services is widespread and substantial or rising”.

“Transmission of COVID-19 is already high in the community, mainly still driven by Delta, but the emergence of Omicron adds additional and rapidly increasing risk to the public and healthcare services,” they said in a joint statement.

On Friday, 448 new cases on the variant were recorded, while UK’s overall COVID infections stood at over 58,000.

Meanwhile, experts are warning Omicron could cause between 25,000 to 75,000 deaths in England if no extra measures are brought in.

Saman Siddiqui

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