The UK is said to be the first country to officially announce Omicron’s death. Very hit by the pandemic with more than 146,000 deaths and around 50,000 daily contaminations, the country of 66 million inhabitants has also decreed other restrictions to avoid seeing its hospitals overwhelmed, such as the return to telework, in force since December 13.
When it comes to vaccines, there is a race against time. Faced with “an Omicron tsunami”, in the words of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the executive for a month advanced the objective of offering a reinforcement to all those over 18 by England, which will now be able to benefit from it before the Year New. “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.
Dealing with the Omicron “tidal wave”
“No one should doubt it: an Omicron tsunami is coming, and I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are not enough to provide the level of protection we all need,” Boris Johnson said in a televised speech. at 8:00 pm (GMT and local). “But the good news is that our scientists are convinced that with a third dose, a booster dose, we can all increase our level of protection.”
“The idea that this is a less virulent version of the virus, I think is something that we have to discard and recognize that the rate (of spread) is accelerating among the population,” he added, encouraging the population. order a third dose. The task promises to be daunting. Multiplication of vaccination centers, extended hours, deployment of the army: the impeachment campaign, which will consist of doubling the number of third doses offered to around one million per day, is on a scale “never seen before” in the country, Minister of Sajid health. Javid said on Sky News.
A two hour queue, just to register
While two doses of the vaccine are considered insufficient to provide a good level of protection against the Omicron variant, about 40% of those over the age of 12 have already received a third. Very long lines had formed in front of some vaccination centers on Monday as the public health service (NHS) reservation site, overwhelmed by demand, was sometimes inaccessible or operated in a queue system. “I took the morning to get vaccinated because I’m going to see my grandparents,” Sarah Jackson, 29, told AFP in central London. “They told me there was a two-hour line to register and then two hours to get vaccinated.”
People wait to be vaccinated against Covid-19 outside St Thomas Hospital on December 10, 2021 in London. (AFP / Archives – Hollie Adams)
The total number of Omicron cases detected in the UK has reached 3,137, an increase of 65% from Saturday’s total of 1,898 cases, but the actual number of cases is said to be much higher.
Detected in the UK just over two weeks ago, Omicron should be the dominant variant within days, the government believes. The alert level was raised from three to four, the second highest level, indicating that “transmission is high” and that the pressure on health services is “significant or increasing.” “Preliminary evidence shows that Omicron is spreading much faster than Delta and that Omicron’s protection against symptomatic diseases is reduced,” health officials from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said in a joint statement. .
The severity of Omicron “will be clearer in the coming weeks,” but they note that there are “already” hospitalizations due to Omicron and that it is “likely” that their number “will increase rapidly.” The UK is particularly hard hit by the pandemic with more than 146,000 deaths and some 50,000 new infections recorded each day.
“Most cases” in London
Many Britons also faced the inability to try to obtain free antigen tests, while fully vaccinated people who become contact cases must now be tested on a daily basis to avoid isolation – a move that aims to avoid crippling the economy. .
Omicron “is spreading at a phenomenal rate that has never been seen before,” with infections doubling every two to three days, Sajid Javid said. It already represents 40% of pollution in London, and “tomorrow will be the majority of cases” in the capital, warned the prime minister. Other measures have recently been decreed, such as teleworking and the use of masks in almost all closed places. Despite this instruction, traffic was heavy in the City’s business district, in the heart of London, at rush hour Monday morning, and some buses were overcrowded, an AFP journalist noted.
In addition to accelerating the vaccine booster campaign, detection will be expanded. Starting Tuesday, fully vaccinated contact cases of people who test positive for Covid-19 will be asked to perform antigen tests daily for seven days. Those who are not vaccinated must remain in isolation for ten days. A health passport will also be imposed from Wednesday in large meeting places, a move that angered some of the deputies of the conservative majority.
Put to a vote by MPs on Tuesday, these new measures should be adopted thanks to the support of the opposition Labor Party, but Boris Johnson is exposed to mistrust on the part of his conservative side. Among the rebels, Representative Steve Baker called the additional restrictions “disproportionate.” He told Sky News that, like him, around 60 Conservative MPs will vote against the new measures.
In addition to this sling in their ranks, Boris Johnson is weakened by a series of scandals linked to alleged parties in Downing Street last winter, when the British were supposed to limit social interactions to prevent the spread of the virus. Britain’s top official, Simon Case, is tasked with conducting an internal investigation.
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