One in three Covid cases in London are now the new Omicron variant as experts warn a large wave is ‘inevitable’.
Cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi also confirmed patients with the Omicron variant have been hospitalised in the UK.
Speaking with Sky News, the education secretary said: “One third of infections now in London are Omicron.
“We think that obviously the reported tests are indicating about 1,600 cases but of course the number of cases in the community would be a multiple of that, ten times that.”
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The latest data revealed 633 new Omicron cases in the UK, bringing the total number of Omicron 1,898.
There is still uncertainty about the severity of infection caused by the Omicron variant, but Mr Zahawi said it represents a threat.
“I can confirm to you this morning there are cases in hospital with Omicron,” Mr Zahawi said.
He added: “That is the risk, that even if it is milder, say 50% milder than Delta, then the numbers are huge – it is a small percentage of a very large population.”
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Speaking with Andrew Marr, Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for the UK Health Security Agency, said a ‘big wave’ of infections is ‘inevitable’.
However, she said she is not aware of any deaths as a result of the new variant.
She said: “We’re also seeing hospitals diagnose more and more people coming through their emergency departments, and we expect to see increases in that number.
“I have not had a report of death yet.
“But it’s really important to remember it is just over two weeks since we first detected the cases in the United Kingdom, and that hospitalisations start to be seen in about two weeks and deaths usually at three to four weeks.”
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