At least one patient has died in the United Kingdom after contracting the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says.
“Sadly at least one patient has now been confirmed to have died with Omicron,” Johnson told reporters during a visit to a vaccination clinic near Paddington in west London.
“So I think 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.”
Since the first Omicron cases were detected on November 27 in the United Kingdom, Johnson has imposed tougher restrictions and on Sunday he urged people to get booster shots to prevent the health service from being overwhelmed.
In England a booster is available to everyone aged 18 or over from this week as long as the second dose was at least three months ago.
Over-30s can already book a booster online and from Wednesday this will be extended to over-18s.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the Omicron coronavirus variant was spreading at a “phenomenal rate” and now accounted for about 40 per cent of infections in London.