12:20 PM December 11, 2021
The number of confirmed Omicron Covid cases in Tower Hamlets has been revealed for the first time.
Figures stating how many cases of the virulent variant have been recorded so far in every local authority were published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) last night – December 10.
There are currently seven confirmed cases in Tower Hamlets.
The data also reveals the number of suspected cases, with further testing taking place for the variant.
In Tower Hamlets, there are 27 further suspected cases.
Daily Covid-19 cases have reached their highest level in almost a year as experts warned the Omicron variant could become the dominant strain in the UK by mid-December.
Eleanor Riley, a professor of immunology and infectious disease, said Omicron is spreading so fast that people are “very likely” to meet someone infected with the Covid-19 variant unless they are “living the life of a hermit”.
The University of Edinburgh academic also warned “a lot of people” could still end up in hospital even if the coronavirus mutation proves to provoke milder symptoms than the Delta variant.
Prof Riley said: “Omicron is spreading so quickly that, I think, unless you are living the life of a hermit, you are very likely to come across it in the next few weeks.
“I don’t think anyone should be going around thinking they are not going to catch it, I think that situation has changed.”
She added: “There is a huge ‘if’ about this, ‘is it milder?’. I think it is very dangerous to compare data from South Africa, say, to the UK.
“Even if it is milder and, therefore, a smaller proportion of infected people end up in hospital, given that so many people are going to come across this virus, even a small proportion of a lot of people is a lot of people in hospital.”
From Friday, in England the legal requirement to wear masks has been extended to more indoor spaces including museums, galleries and community centres.
There will be a return to working from home on Monday, and mandatory Covid passports for large venues from Wednesday, as the Government’s Plan B comes into force.
The new regulations will be put to a debate and vote in the Commons next week – and with Labour’s support they are certain to be approved despite the prospect of a large Conservative revolt.