A new variant of the Coronavirus is worrying the world and increasing the call for a booster shot.
Omicron infections hit 200,000 a day as UK kicks off massive booster vaccine drive
Omicron infections in the UK hit an estimated 200.000 a day on Monday and the super-contagious variant will become the dominant strain of coronavirus in London within days, it has been revealed. The United Kingdom has reported the first confirmed death in the world. This is causing concern not only to the British Government but also to other European countries.
Scientists are not yet sure how severe the Omicron disease is, but there are signs that it bypasses protection by vaccination and can therefore be highly contagious. In Denmark, which on Monday recorded the highest number of cases of the omikron variant in the world, a top scientist warns that the high figures have more to do with tracking down variants than with their true spread, and that the situation elsewhere in Europe is most likely just as serious.
The dramatic figures came as the first UK death of a patient infected with the new variant was recorded. With omicron infection numbers believed to double every two or three days, they set the scene – if accurate – for daily infections to reach a record 1 million or more by the start of next week.
Doctors’ leaders called for the return of two-metre social distancing indoors and mandatory face-masks in pubs and restaurants, warning that the government’s reliance on vaccines will leave millions at risk from a variant against which two jabs appear to offer relatively little shield while a third gives up to 75 per cent protection.
The Belgian virologists are also asking for more haste for a third shot so that people can be protected more and are less likely to end up in hospital. For the time being, it seems that most people become less ill with the Omicron variant.
The volunteers in the Belgian vaccination centres are at the end of their tether and are planning a week’s rest between Christmas and New Year, but the government would like the vaccinations to continue even at an increased rate.
Yesterday the English Prime Minister Boris Johnson and NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard have joined forces to issue a rallying cry for thousands of volunteers to come forward and support the NHS booster campaign. This follows new evidence that suggests the Omicron variant is extremely transmissible and two jabs are not enough to protect against infection.
The public will be urged to play a crucial role in the UK’s fight against Omicron by helping the NHS to get as many jabs into arms as quickly as possible. No task will be too small to contribute towards this national effort.
> Nederlandse versie: Opstormende Coronavariant
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