The United Kingdom reported 106,122 new daily coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the highest total of the pandemic and the first time the figure has topped 100,000. 

Confirmed infections have risen almost 60% in the past week, driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant.

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The British government has re-imposed face masks in shops and ordered people to show proof of vaccination at nightclubs and other crowded venues. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he won’t bring in new measures before Christmas Day, but may do so after the holiday.

He urged people to work from home while suggesting restricted entry into large events and nightclubs.

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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.”

U.K. health authorities are racing to give all adults a booster vaccine to help combat omicron. So far almost half the U.K. population has had a booster.

Britain’s chief medical officer Dr Chris Whitty had warned that omicron variant was likely to bring record-breaking infection numbers.

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Meanwhile, WHO’s top official in Europe urged governments on Tuesday to prepare for a “significant surge” in coronavirus cases across the continent due to the omicron variant, which is already dominant in several countries.

“We can see another storm coming,” WHO Europe regional director Dr. Hans Kluge said at a press conference in Vienna. “Within weeks, omicron will dominate in more countries of the region, pushing already stretched health systems further to the brink.”

Omicron has been detected in at least 38 of the WHO European region’s 53 members, Kluge added, noting that it is already the dominant variant in the United Kingdom, Denmark and Portugal.

Last week, 27,000 people died from coronavirus in the region and an additional 2.6 million cases were reported, Kluge said. Although these cases include all variants, not just omicron, he noted this figure is 40% higher than during the same period last year.

The British government also announced 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) in grants and other aid to help the hospitality industry survive the onslaught of the omicron variant of COVID-19, bowing to days of pressure from pubs, restaurants and other businesses that complain public health warnings have torpedoed the vital Christmas season.

Businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-time grants of up to 6,000 pounds ($7,954) each. An additional 100 million pounds ($133 million) will be given to local governments to support businesses in their areas hit by the sudden spike in COVID-19 infections driven by the highly transmissible new variant.