Day: 14 December 2021

The emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in southern Africa last month is causing concern around the world, not least because it is thought to be highly transmissible and because the 32 mutations of its spike protein suggest it might be able to resist current vaccines.

On Monday, the UK confirmed the first death from the new variant globally while health secretary Sajid Javid estimated that the rate of omicron infections was already at around 200,000 per day, with the strain expected to become dominant in London within 48 hours.

NHS England meanwhile announced that it will return to its highest level of emergency preparedness, level four national incident, meaning that the NHS response to omicron will be coordinated as a national effort rather than led by individual trusts.

All of which came as 54,661 new Covid cases were recorded as part of the official figures, plus another 38 deaths.

Boris Johnson’s government has been relatively quick to act this time around and has imposed its first social restrictions on the public since his ill-conceived “Freedom Day” of 19 July. – (The Independent) 

Several papers are reporting Britain will not face another lockdown due to the success of the vaccine rollout whilst other headlines are stressing the importance of the booster to avoid restrictions. 

Most papers are discussing what a potential lockdown would look like this time around compared with the UK’s last lockdown – perhaps an indication the papers are fully aware a lockdown could happen.