'Tidal wave coming’: UK's dire Covid warning ahead of Christmas

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of an Omicron tidal wave as the Covid alert level was raised from three to four.

The PM told reporters on Sunday (local time) “we are facing an emergency” due to a battle with the Omicron variant with Covid-19.

“Earlier today, the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers raised the Covid alert level to four, its second highest level, because of the evidence that Omicron is doubling here in the UK every two to three days,” Mr Johnson said.

“We know from bitter experience how these exponential curves develop. No one should be in any doubt: there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming, and I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the public to provide an update on the Covid-19 booster programme, at Downing Street in London, England.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has implored UK citizens to get booster shots as Omicron cases surge. Source: Getty Images

He said scientists are confident a third dosage, a booster shot, can increase the level of protection.

“Do not make the mistake of thinking Omicron can’t hurt you, can’t make you and your loved ones seriously ill,” the PM said.

“We’ve already seen hospitalisations doubling in a week in South Africa. And we have patients with Omicron in hospital here in the UK right now.

“At this point, our scientists cannot say that Omicron is less severe, and even if that proved to be true, we already know it is so much more transmissible, that a wave of Omicron through a population that was not boosted would risk a level of hospitalisation that could overwhelm our NHS and lead sadly to very many deaths.”

 Crowd of shoppers seen in Covent Garden, London.
Shoppers at London's Covent Garden earlier this month. Source: Getty Images

More than 81 per cent of UK double-dosed

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last week warned of a "potential tsunami of infections" due to Omicron.

According to the UK Government’s health data, more than 81 per cent are fully vaccinated and about 40 per cent have had three doses.

But the UK continues to see high case numbers. On Saturday, 54,073 new Covid-19 cases were reported along with 132 more deaths. Another 48,854 new cases were reported on Sunday. There are more than 3000 active Omicron cases.

Mr Johnson said late last week he would not pursue any changes to restrictions.

with Reuters

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