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Updated on: Monday, December 13, 2021, 05:35 PM IST

United Kingdom records first death due to Omicron variant of COVID-19

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the Health at the Stowe vaccination centre in central London on December 13, 2021. - | (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn / POOL / AFP)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the Health at the Stowe vaccination centre in central London on December 13, 2021. - | (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn / POOL / AFP)

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One person in the United Kingdom has died due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday, reported BBC.

Earlier in the day, Johnson warned that the nation will see a 'tidal wave' of Omicron variant, even as the country's coronavirus alert level was raised to four due to the spread of the super mutant strain of the lethal virus.

Level four means a high or rising level of transmission -- the last time the UK was at this level was in May.

Declaring an "Omicron emergency", Johnson also set a new booster target -- the third doses will be offered to everyone over 18 in England from this week, three months after their second dose, the BBC reported.

"No one should be in any doubt, there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming," Boris Johnson said.

People have been told to work from home from Monday "if they can", as part of the UK government's introduction of Plan B measures.

"I'm afraid we're now facing an emergency in our battle with the new variant Omicron," said Johnson.

"It is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need. But the good news is that our scientists are confident that with a third dose, a booster dose, we can all bring our level of protection back up."

"At this point our scientists cannot say that Omicron is less severe.

"And even if that proved to be true, we already know it is so much more transmissible that a wave of Omicron through a population that was not boosted would risk a level of hospitalisation that could overwhelm our NHS and lead sadly to very many deaths."

Omicron could cause up to 75,000 deaths in UK by April-end, study warns

The Omicron variant could cause between 25,000 and 75,000 COVID-19 related deaths in the UK by April next year, if additional control measures were not taken, according to a modelling study.

The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study suggests that Omicron has the potential to cause a wave of transmission in England that could lead to higher levels of cases and hospitalisations than those seen during January 2021.

The researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in the UK used the latest experimental data on the antibody-evading characteristics of Omicron to explore plausible scenarios for the immune escape of the variant.

Under the most optimistic scenario, a wave of infection is projected which could lead to a peak of over 2,000 daily hospital admissions, with 175,000 hospitalisations and 24,700 deaths between December 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022, if no additional control measures are implemented.

(With IANS and PTI inputs)

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Published on: Monday, December 13, 2021, 05:35 PM IST
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