Boris Johnson Confirms At Least One Patient Has Died After Testing Positive For Omicron
Boris Johnson has confirmed at least one person has died after testing positive for the new variant
The Prime Minister has confirmed at least one patient has died after testing positive for the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, which is causing a new surge in cases.
The Prime Minister urged the public to "set to one side" the idea that the new variant is a "milder version" of the virus after confirming the first person had died after testing positive for Omicron.
Speaking during a visit to a vaccination clinic in London, Johnson said the "best thing" people could do was to receive their booster jabs as hospitalisations linked to the new variant continued to rise.
"The idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus, I think that's something we need to set on one side and just recognise the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population," he said.
"The best thing we can do is all get our boosters."
On Sunday night Johnson announced the government was reducing their target for offering booster doses to all eligible people by the end of January to the end of December.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said there are "about" 10 people currently hospitalised with the new variant, while official NHS figures show there are have been 3,137 infections from Omicron confirmed in the UK.
On Sunday, the UK recorded its highest daily rise in infections caused by the new variant, with a further 1,239 Omicron cases confirmed.
The government's efforts to provide booster jabs hit a stumbling block on Monday after a surge in demand caused problems with the NHS booking website.
"The Covid vaccine booking service is currently facing extremely high demand so is operating a queuing system," a tweet from the offcial NHS account said.
“For users aged 18-29, please be aware that booking opens on Wednesday 15 Dec.
“For all others experiencing waits, we would advise trying again later today or tomorrow.”
The Prime Minister also refused multiple times to rule out bringing in new Covid restrictions ahead of Christmas, but insisted the current Plan B measures introduced today were the "right approach".
"Throughout the pandemic I've been at great pains to stress to the public that we have to watch where the pandemic is going and we take whatever steps are necessary to protect public health," he said.
"We think the steps that we are taking – so Plan B, combined with a hugely ambitious acceleration of the booster campaign, bringing it forward by a month so we offer a booster to every adult by the end of the year - we think that's the right approach."
Johnson also confirmed that his involvement with a Christmas Zoom quiz in Downing Street would be investigated by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case but insisted he "certainly broke no rules".
"All that must properly be gone into, and you will be hearing from the Cabinet Secretary about it all," he said.
"But frankly, when I look at what we are trying to do now, the crucial thing is that people understand the challenge that is posed by Omicron, but also understand this is a challenge that collectively we can meet. "
Johnson said the report on the alleged breaches would be published by Case "as soon as we reasonable can", but said he was focussed on the booster programme.
"He is looking at all these things... we will report back on all that, but as I say I certainly broke no rules," he added.
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