The UK Health Security Agency reported 9,427 additional Omicron variant cases in England, bringing the total in the country to 23,168. Seven deaths have been reported in England.
Elsewhere in the UK, Northern Ireland is now reporting 827 cases, Scotland (792) and Wales (181). The total in the UK stands at 24,968.
In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a ‘major incident’ due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant across the capital.
It comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in London has rapidly increased, with 65,525 new confirmed cases in the past seven days, and 26,418 cases reported in the last 24 hour period alone – the highest number since the start of the pandemic. In the last week, the number of COVID-19 patients in London hospitals has gone up 29 per cent.
The impact of rising case numbers is already being felt across the capital with staff absences in frontline services causing challenges. By declaring a major incident it will help authorities support each other to reduce service disruption and allow more time to administer booster vaccines, as we learn more about the severity of the variant and the impact it will have on the NHS.
A major incident is defined as an event or situation with a range of serious consequences which requires special arrangements to be implemented by one or more emergency responder agency. It is “beyond the scope of business-as-usual operations, and is likely to involve serious harm, damage, disruption or risk to human life or welfare, essential services, the environment or national security”. In addition, “the severity of the consequences associated with a major incident are likely to constrain or complicate the ability of responders to resource and manage the incident”.
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