New Delhi: London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a “major incident” in the capital of the UK due to the rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
A major incident is a situation with a range of serious consequences which requires special arrangements to be implemented. Sadiq earlier had declared a major incident on January 8 due to the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s National Health Service (NHS).
“BREAKING: Today I have declared a major incident in London in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant across our capital. This will help us avoid disruption to frontline services – and to the life-saving booster vaccine rollout,” Sadiq Khan tweeted.
On Friday, the UK’s daily cases record was broken for a third consecutive day after 93,000 cases were reported in the country. Local media reports say that more than two-thirds of CVOID-19 cases in London are now estimated to be Omicron.
“10,059 additional confirmed cases of the #Omicron variant of COVID-19 have been reported across the UK. Confirmed Omicron cases in the UK now total 24,968,” UK Health Security Agency informed on Twitter.
Amid the unabated spread of the Omicron cases around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said infection numbers of the new variant are doubling at least every 3 days.
The new variant of the coronavirus is spreading faster than the Delta strain in countries with documented community transmission, with the number of cases doubling in 1.5 to 3 days, according to the WHO.
As of December 16, the Omicron variant has been identified in 89 countries across all six WHO regions. The current understanding of the Omicron variant will continue to evolve as more data becomes available.
In an update on Saturday, the United Nations’ health agency said that there is consistent evidence that Omicron has a substantial growth advantage over Delta.
“It is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant in countries with documented community transmission, with a doubling time between 1.5-3 days. Omicron is spreading rapidly in countries with high levels of population immunity and it remains uncertain to what extent the observed rapid growth rate can be attributed to immune evasion, intrinsic increased transmissibility or a combination of both,” WHO said.