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UK records highest daily COVID-19 cases since start of pandemic

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People wearing face masks walk across Westminster Bridge in London on Tuesday.

UK: The United Kingdom recorded its highest daily coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic on Wednesday as a senior British health chief said there could be a “staggering” rise in cases over the next few days.

A further 78,610 COVID-19 infections were reported, about 10,000 more than the previous high reported in January.

More than 11 million people have now tested positive for the disease in the United Kingdom, which has a total population of around 67 million.

With a new highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus surging across Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of a “tidal wave” of infections.

However, he suffered a blow to his authority on Tuesday when more than 100 of his lawmakers voted against measure to curb the increasing spread of the disease.

Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, earlier called the Omicron variant “probably the most significant threat” since the start of the pandemic.

Harries said the new variant of the virus has a doubling time “which is shortening” and is now under two days in most regions in Britain, with its growth rate was being notable in London and Manchester in particular.

More than 10,000 cases of Omicron have been recorded, with at least 10 people hospitalised. One person has died after contracting the variant, which is set to become the dominant strain in London.

Meanwhile, There is a “very high” risk the omicron variant of COVID-19 will become dominant in Europe by early next year and lead to a growing number of hospital admissions and deaths, the EU’s public health body said on Wednesday.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a report that the omicron variant of concern (VOC) was likely to overtake delta within the first two months of 2022.

ECDC said data was not yet sufficient to assess the severity of disease caused by the omicron variant.

However, even if the severity of COVID-19 it caused was lower than that caused by delta, the increased transmissibility would rapidly outweigh any potential benefits. “It is, therefore, considered very likely that the omicron VOC will cause additional hospitalisations and fatalities.

Meanwhile, Despite a 83 per cent surge in COVID-19 cases in Africa in the last one week, a top official of the World Health Organisation’s Regional Office for Africa said on Tuesday that she remains “cautiously optimistic” about the overall situation, WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said. “There has been an 83 per cent surge in cases on the continent this week, compared to the previous week. This is the fastest surge recorded since May last year. We are cautiously optimistic though, as we are seeing fewer deaths during the early weeks of this current wave as compared to the previous ones,” Moeti said during a virtual media briefing.

Africa has recorded more than nine million COVID cases, with more than 2,25,000 lives lost to pandemic.


Friday, December 17, 2021 – 01:00

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