United Kingdom

Omicron likely most dangerous variant to date, UK Health Chief says

11:10, 16 December 2021
Omicron likely most dangerous variant to date, UK Health Chief says Photo: pixabay.com

Jennifer Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency suggested that the new variant dubbed Omicron is “probably the most significant threat” since the start of the pandemic.

The concern was caused by the rapid growth of numbers, which indicate the massive infections in the UK and how swiftly the variant spreads across the country, especially when it comes to comparison with other previous variants.

“I’m sure for example the numbers that we see on data over the next few days will be quite staggering compared to the rate of growth that we’ve seen in cases for previous variants,” Harries told the Commons Transport Committee.

Omicron poses a considerable threat to the world as the newly mutated variant has already proven its hard to deal with amid country’s attempts to stop it from spreading, when dozens of countries took to border shutdown. Moreover, Omicron is still poorly discovered due to its recent mutation, but has already sparked anxiety across the globe.

“The real potential risk here - and I would underline that because we are still learning a lot about the variant - is in relation to its severity, clinical severity, and therefore whether those cases turn into severe disease, hospitalisations and deaths.”

“We’re still at too early a stage for that, in fact the world probably is still at too early a stage to be clear,” she said.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen. But at the moment the indications are it could be as big or even bigger than the previous wave this time last year. So we’re preparing for that,” Harries added.

On Wednesday, the UK reported the year-highest number of daily COVID-19 infections which stopped at 78,610 cases. It has increased from 59,610 which were reported the day before and surpassed the figures shown last year on January 8 - 68,053 cases.

Earlier, numerous countries, including the UK closed their borders for those, except residents, who arrived from South Africa where Omicron initially originated. Japan and Israel, in turn, completely shut their borders from anyone who could enter these two countries to avoid the infection spreading.