The Omicron version of the coronavirus has killed 12 individuals in the United Kingdom, according to Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, who refused to exclude out imposing social restrictions before Christmas.
Officials and ministers in the United Kingdom have warned that the entire impact of the latest round of COVID-19 cases will not be known for some time. Omicron was first discovered in southern Africa and Hong Kong last month, and has now been reported in at least 89 nations. It is known to be highly contagious, but the severity of the illness it produces is unclear.
In addition to the 12 deaths, Raab said 104 individuals were being treated for Omicron in hospitals. Officials warned last week that when the impacts of the recent surge spread throughout the population, hospitalizations might reach new highs. “I really can’t offer hard and fast commitments,” Raab said when asked if the government will implement more limits before Christmas. “We rely significantly on real data coming in when assessing the situation, and it will take a little longer to examine this crucial issue of Omicron’s severity.”
Any move to restrict people’s Christmas celebrations would be politically costly for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose authority has been weakened by doubts over whether he and his staff disobeyed the lockdown restrictions last year. Last week, Johnson faced a massive backlash in parliament, with members of his own party fiercely opposing a tightening of COVID-19 restrictions.
Johnson needed the support of the main opposition Labour Party to pass the new laws, which included requiring individuals to wear masks in public places.