Omicron fuels record Covid infections as 1.4million infected last week

OMICRON has sparked a record number of weekly infections after spreading fast around the UK.

Around 1.4million Brits came down with Covid last week – the highest weekly number since records began.

Christmas plans have been shaken up and long-awaited celebrations ruined with the arrival of the mutant variant.

But positive sets of data has shown that despite it's increased transmissibility, the variant tends to produce a milder illness.

Sarah Crofts, Head of Analytical Outputs for the ONS Covid-19 Infection Survey said: “Our latest results show infections in England increased in the week to 16 December, with around 1 in 45 people infected.

"Scotland also saw an increase with around 1 in 70 people infected and infections remain high in Northern Ireland and Wales, though the trend is uncertain in both.

“The percentage of cases compatible with the Omicron variant has clearly increased across the UK.

"This is most apparent in England where Omicron appears to have risen sharply, though with significant regional variations.

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“We are monitoring the impact of Omicron very closely and will continue to do so over the holiday period.”

Experts have begged Brits to take care over the holiday period, with infections rising sharply.

A booster shot is the best protection against Omicron, with data suggesting it pushes efficacy back up to 75 per cent.

Dr Jenny Harries, UKHSA Chief Executive said: “Once again, we urge everyone who is able to get a booster jab to come forward and do so. It is the best defence we have against this highly transmissible new variant."

The Sun is also urging readers to sign up to the Jabs Army campaign to make the rollout as smooth and fast as possible.

The percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 in the latest week is estimated to have increased in all regions of England except the north-east, south-west and West Midlands.

In London, around one in 30 people was likely to test positive in the week to December 16 – the highest proportion for any region.

It's important that if you think you have Covid then you get a test and isolate in order to stop the spread of the virus.

CASE RISE

These new symptoms could mean that many people are missing infections as a scratchy throat could be part of a cold, and many people could mistake back pain for common aches and niggles.

A booster jab is the best Christmas gift you can give your family, Boris Johnson told The Sun last night — as data revealed Omicron is half as likely to put ­people in hospital.

The stunning news from around 80,000 of the first Omicron cases in the UK has finally confirmed hopes that the latest strain is milder.

Downing Street had been braced to announce a “circuit breaker”.

But the new data means no announcement on restrictions for next week are expected before the festive weekend.

Hopes were rising that fresh curbs could be avoided altogether if hospital admissions do not spike.

Revellers were still warned not to make plans for New Year’s Eve just yet after daily confirmed cases passed 100,000 for the first time in the pandemic.

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