UK urges work from home, plans stricter curbs as Omicron threat looms
- So far UK has confirmed 568 cases of Omicron variant
- Most cases have been found in London and southeast England
- Experts expect Omicron to become the dominant strain in UK
The United Kingdom said it will be tightening restrictions as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 gains momentum in the country. Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to work from home while suggesting restricted entry into large events and nightclubs.
The British leader said that it was time to impose boosted curbs to contain the spread of the virus and prevent an increase in hospitalisation rates.
Johnson said in a statement, "It has become increasingly clear that Omicron is growing much faster than the previous delta variant and is spreading rapidly all around the world", according to reports from Associated Press.
He added, "Most worryingly, there is evidence that the doubling time of Omicron could currently be between two and three days."
While updating on the current statistics of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Johnson said that so far the country has confirmed 568 cases while warning that the actual number would be "much higher".
He said while there wasn’t yet comprehensive data on how dangerous Omicron is, rising hospitalisation rates in South Africa, where the variant was first detected, suggested that it has the potential to cause harm, according to reports from Associated Press.
Scientists at the British Health Security Agency explained that most cases of the Omicron variant were found in London and southeastern regions of England. It is also expected to become the dominant strain of the deadly virus in the United Kingdom in the next two to four weeks.
The tighter restrictions will buy the government time to put booster jabs into more arms. Officials have set the target of offering booster shots to all adults by the end of January.
The British government reported another 51,342 confirmed daily cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, with 161 more people dying.
(With AP inputs)