Coronavirus: Boris Johnson confirms the first death from omicron variant in UK
Boris Johnson says that at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron in the UK - the first death recorded with that variant.
Speaking during a visit to a vaccination clinic near Paddington, in west London, the Prime Minister said: “Sadly yes Omicron is producing hospitalisations and sadly at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron.
“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. So the best thing we can do is all get our boosters.”
On Sunday, the Prime Minister said people would be able to “get” their jab by that date.
Speaking to broadcasters during his visit on Monday, the Prime Minister said: “Throughout the pandemic I’ve been at great pains to stress to the public that we have to watch where the pandemic is going and we take whatever steps are necessary to protect public health.
“We think the steps that we are taking – so Plan B, combined with a hugely ambitious acceleration of the booster campaign, bringing it forward by a month so we offer a booster to every adult by the end of the year – we think that’s the right approach.
“We now want to hit warp speed and we’ll have to attain a pace and a number of daily booster doses that will exceed anything that we’ve done before.
“But I’ve got no doubt at all that we have the people, we have the enthusiasm, we have the fundamental optimism about what we can do, which we’ve learned from the experience of the last 18 months. And I know that people are going to rise to this.”
Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said confirmation of the first person to have died with the Omicron variant “underlines the seriousness of the situation”.
He tweeted: “The awful news of the UK’s first Omicron death underlines the seriousness of the situation and my heart goes out to their family and friends.
“This is why the booster rollout is so vital and public health measures are necessary to reduce its spread.”
There has been confusion over whether people will be guaranteed a jab by December 31, with NHS England saying everyone will have been offered the chance to book a booster.
Boris Johnson has repeatedly declined to rule out further coronavirus restrictions being introduced ahead of Christmas as the Omicron variant spikes, as he said the goal is to “offer a booster” to every adult by the end of the year.
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