The United Kingdom recorded about 149,000 deaths due to the epidemic, and daily monitors a record number of injuries, as it announced on Saturday that more than 163,000 cases were recorded within twenty-four hours.
Hospitalizations are also on the rise, although the authorities stress that the mutant Omicron appears to be less dangerous than Delta.
“The number of people in intensive care units is stable and is not currently following the path we saw in this period last year during the alpha wave,” Sajid Javid said in an article for the Daily Mail.
He added that with a “much stronger situation” for the country thanks to a massive vaccination campaign, the government had decided not to impose new restrictions during the holidays in England, unlike in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In his article, Javid stressed that “restricting our freedom should be a last resort,” noting in particular the “huge health, social and economic cost of closures,” calling for “coexistence with the virus” through vaccination and an arsenal of treatments and intensive testing.
But the British Minister of Health admitted that health institutions will “inevitably” be subject to pressure in the coming weeks due to the “sharp rise” in the number of hospitalizations, according to “AFP”.
And the Sunday Times reported that more than 110,000 health workers, or about 10 percent of the total workers in the Public Health Authority “NHS”, were absent from work Friday, including about 50,000 because they were infected with the Corona virus or had contact with people infected with the virus.
And the Daily Telegraph reported Saturday that the government may extend in January the recommendation to work remotely, which has been in effect since mid-December.
And Education Minister Nadim Zahawi stated that the government will recommend secondary school students to put masks in classrooms when classes resume next week.
And he indicated that “it may be necessary to give some lessons remotely” due to the expected absences of students and teachers as a result of the virus.
Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday he had achieved the official goal of providing a booster dose to all adults by the end of December, and more than 70 percent of England had received it.
According to a study conducted by the British Health Safety Agency and published on Friday, Omicron patients who received a booster dose of the vaccine had an 81 percent lower chance of not being admitted to hospital compared to the unvaccinated.
For its part, the Public Health Service, “NHS”, announced that it is setting up temporary wards that include hundreds of beds in preparation for the “worst case scenario” in the face of an increase in hospitalizations.