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UK Omicron cases climb to 246 as 86 more Covid variant cases found

·2-min read
UK Omicron cases climb to 246 as 86 more Covid variant cases found

Omicron Covid cases soared to 246 after a further 86 Covid variant cases were identified in the UK, according to the latest figures available.

It is a stark comparison to the total of 160 reported on Saturday.

The UK Health Security Agency said18 of the cases are in Scotland which takes the total up to 48.

It comes hours after Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab declared everyone will be able enjoy Christmas this year compared to last year while strict restrictions were in place.

He said: “We are going into this Christmas. We can enjoy Christmas the way we couldn’t last year.

“It is a testament to vaccine. We have done right thing, we’ve taken a balanced response.”

However, the Secretary of State for Justice said he didn’t like the idea of a “straight jacket” approach to vaccines as he wasn’t sure mandatory vaccines were “fair or morally right”.

But Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter warned the UK will be moving into “one of the highest risk periods” over the coming weeks due to large amounts of indoor socialising during the festive season.

He told Sky News: “The travel restrictions are only going to slow things down a little, they’re not going to stop it.

“In the New Year we’re likely to see a lot of challenges and that could mean more stringent measures.”

Omicron has sparked alarm among scientists over its contagiousness and potential to evade vaccines.

Just on Saturday, the Government announced travellers to the UK will be required to take pre-departure Covid-19 tests.

The new measure, to limit the spread of the Omicron variant, applies to everyone visiting the UK or returning from a holiday, regardless of vaccination status.

It will come into effect from from 4am on Tuesday December 7.

Nigeria is also being added to the travel red list - joining several southern African nations which were added after the Omicron variant was first detected late last month.

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