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UK News

Community transmission of Omicron variant across multiple regions of England, says Javid


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Cases of the Omicron variant in people without any travel history have been confirmed in the UK meaning it is now being transmitted within the community, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.

Mr Javid said there are now 261 Omicron variant cases in England, 71 in Scotland and four in Wales – a total of 336.

“This includes cases with no links to international travel so we can conclude there is now community transmission across multiple regions of England,” he told the Commons.

The health secretary also reiterated a travel rule announced previously that from 4am tomorrow, anyone travelling to the UK from a non-red list country, whether vaccinated or not, will have to show proof of a negative PCR or lateral flow test taken no earlier than 48 hours before departing for the UK.

Moments before Mr Javid spoke, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reported there had been a further 90 cases of the Omicron variant over the past day in the UK, bringing the total to 336.

On Sunday, there were 86 new cases of the variant reported.

The UKHSA said 64 of the latest cases were in England, 23 in Scotland and three were identified in Wales. There have been no Omicron cases reported in Northern Ireland so far.

More on Covid-19

Experts have said there is increasing concern Omicron is spreading more quickly than the Delta variant, and there are probably more than 1,000 cases in the UK already.

Professor Paul Hunter, from the school of medicine at the University of East Anglia, said the early signs show “it will probably spread quite quickly”.

“And probably start outcompeting Delta and become the dominant variant probably within the next weeks or a month or so at least,” he told BBC Breakfast.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the “number of mutations present, already on first principle, makes us worry about a possible effect on vaccine effectiveness”.

Nigeria is the latest country to be placed on the red travel list after several southern African nations were put on it last week, meaning arrivals must now isolate in a quarantine hotel.

Any travellers entering the UK must now take a pre-departure test and get a private PCR test on day two after arriving, and isolate while waiting for the result.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2021

Written by: Rother Radio News

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