Omicron spreads: UK, France & Australia hit record Covid-19 cases on New Year's Day & Eve

The U.S already hit a record high number of Covid-19 cases in the last week of 2021.

Alfie Kwa | January 01, 2022, 03:19 PM

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Countries around the world have seen Covid-19 cases surge in the days leading up to 2022, as the new, highly transmissible Omicron variant spreads.

Towards the tail-end of 2021, signs were there the new wave has emerged.

AFP reported that the world hit a record number of Covid-19 infections in a week from Dec. 22 to 28, 2021.

This was announced on the same day the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, Tedros Ghebreyesus, warned of "a tsunami of cases" due to Omicron and Delta variants working hand-in-hand.

This latest infections exceeded numbers recorded ever since WHO declared a pandemic back in March 2020.

Record high numbers in the past week

Covid-19 cases are on an incline in numerous countries as the Omicron variant spreads, taking over the Delta variant in the U.S and UK.


According to USA Today, the Covid-19 cases reported in the U.S passed two million cases in the last week at 2.49 million cases -- a record high.

The numbers also hit back-to-back records on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 at 252,000 and 265,427 daily cases respectively, according to CNN.

There are also fears these numbers are underreported due to the lowered sensitivity of antigen rapid test kits giving false negative results for Omicron cases.


UK, on the other hand, saw a record of 189,846 new cases of Covid-19 on New Year's Eve, reported Reuters.


In France, the numbers were also at a record high on Dec. 31 at 232,200, reported France 24.

French President, Emmanuel Macron, said during his New Year's speech on Dec. 31 that it will be a "difficult" next couple of weeks as new Covid-19 infections have hit above 200,000 for three days straight.


In Australia, New South Wales state reported 22,577 new infections on Jan. 1, which is the highest number of daily cases recorded in any Australian jurisdiction, according to ABC News.

There were also four deaths recorded as the Australians entered the new year.

The state of Victoria recorded 7,442 cases, while Queensland had 2,266 new cases.

Back home, Singapore reported 158 new Omicron cases and 344 new Covid-19 cases on Dec. 31.

WHO chief's message

Ghebreyesus pointed out in a WHO press conference on Dec. 29 that it has been two years since this global threat emerged.

Since then, there have been 1.8 million deaths recorded in 2020 and 3.5 million in 2021, even though he noted that the actual numbers are much higher.

"I still remain optimistic that this can be the year we can not only end the acute stage of the pandemic but we also chart a path to stronger health security."

Nonetheless, he expressed his concerns that the more transmissible Omicron is spreading at the same time as Delta, leading to "a tsunami of cases".

"Delta and Omicron are now twin threats driving up cases to record numbers, leading to spikes in hospitalisation and deaths."


Top photo via Unsplash

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