The United Kingdom is the first country to suffer the first death from the Omicron variant, which was detected in October in South Africa. This Monday, December 13, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, confirmed that at least one person infected with the new variant had died in the United Kingdom. The day before, he had warned of “a tidal wave of Omicron” in the country, announcing at the same time the acceleration of the vaccine recall campaign.
The United Kingdom already strongly affected by the pandemic with more than 146,000 deaths and around 50,000 daily infections, the country of 66 million inhabitants had decided to advance by one month, this Sunday, the objective of offering a booster shot to all over 18 years in England, so that they benefit from it before the New Year. In the same vein, Boris Johnson is now counting on the injection of at least one million doses per day and thus double their current number – around 400,000 daily injections.
“Unfortunately, Omicron generates hospitalizations and it has been confirmed that at least one patient has died from Omicron,” said the conservative leader during a visit to a vaccination center in London.
“The idea that this is somehow a less virulent version of the virus, I think that’s something we need to dismiss and recognize that the rate at which (its spread) is accelerating among the population,” he added, encouraging the public to ask for a third dose.
It is important to know that the mission will be enormous. Multiplication of vaccination centers, extended hours, deployment of the army: the recall campaign is of a magnitude “never seen” in the country, said the Minister of Health, Sajid Javid, on Sky News.
It is to be expected that huge queues have been formed since Monday morning at the vaccination centers. On the Internet, the NHS website has been overwhelmed by the explosion of requests.
Omicron “is spreading at a phenomenal rate”, with infections doubling every two to three days, the minister continued, before estimating that 40% of infections in London are due to the variant. “By tomorrow, it will be the majority of cases” the London capital warned the Prime Minister.
In order to preserve its overwhelmed hospitals, the government had encouraged the return of teleworking. A health passport could also be imposed from Wednesday in large gathering places if the measure is adopted by the parliament.
All these announcements come in a difficult context for Boris Johnson, weakened by a series of scandals linked to alleged parties in Downing Street last winter when Britons had to limit their social interactions.
As of Sunday, the total number of Omicron cases identified in the country was 3137, but the real figure would be much higher.