UK reports world's first Omicron death

The UK's health secretary estimated that there will be 200,000 new Omicron infections each day, and that Omicron would soon be the dominant strain.

Fiona Tan | December 15, 2021, 06:01 PM

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United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the world's first Omicron Covid-19 death on Dec. 13.

At least one person in the UK had died after contracting the Omicron Covid-19 variant, he added.

At least one person has died

According to Reuters, Johnson was outside a vaccination clinic when he told reporters, "Sadly, at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron."

The patient was diagnosed in the hospital, but no other additional details were given about the death, and whether the patient had been vaccinated or had underlying health issues.

At the House of Commons on Dec. 13, UK's Health Secretary Sajid Javid said currently 20 per cent of the cases in England and 44 per cent of the cases in London are infected with the Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Javid estimated that there will be 200,000 new Omicron infections each day, and that Omicron would be the dominant strain in London within 48 hours.

At the same time on Dec. 13, Johnson said that "sadly", the Omicron variant is "producing hospitalisations".

What's currently happening in UK

Through a rare recorded statement that was televised on Dec. 12, Johnson previously said that emergency measures were required to prevent hospitals becoming overwhelmed due to a possible "tidal wave" of Omicron infections in Britain.

Johnson's address came hours after the UK's Covid-19 threat level was raised to four, which is the second highest level, due to the high levels and rising rates of transmission.

On Dec. 13, Javid said that 10 people between the ages of 18 to 85 had been hospitalised with the Omicron variant in various parts of England. Most of these patients had received two vaccination doses.

According to UK Health Security Agency, the number of Omicron cases in the UK increased by 1,576 to 4,713 on Dec. 13.

The first Omicron Covid-19 case was detected in Britain on Nov. 27, and Johnson has since imposed tougher restrictions via "Plan B".

This includes mandating the wearing of masks at public indoor venues, for people to work from home, and the use of vaccine passes to access public venues with large crowds.

At the same time, Johnson has also ramped up booster vaccination efforts, with new vaccination centres being set up to run round the clock for all adults to receive their boosters by the end of 2021.

According to the UK Health Security Agency, 41.9 per cent of the UK population have received their booster shots, as of Dec. 15.

The country is facing high demand for vaccination bookings, which even caused the National Health Service vaccination booking site to crash, Reuters and AFP reported.

Snaking queues were seen outside of several vaccinations centres as well.

At the same time, home rapid testing kits have been reported to be out of stock.

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Top image from London Ambulance Service website