UK sees 1st death from COVID omicron variant

Britain has so far reported 3,137 cases of new omicron variant of coronavirus.

UK sees 1st death from COVID omicron variant

At least one patient infected with the COVID-19 omicron variant has died in the UK, Britain’s prime minister confirmed Monday.

"Sadly, yes, omicron is producing hospitalizations, and sadly at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with omicron," Boris Johnson said, speaking at a vaccine center in Paddington, west London.

Urging people to set aside “the idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus,” Johnson stressed “the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population. So the best thing we can do is all get our boosters.”

“Here in the capital it probably represents about 40% of the cases. By tomorrow it’ll be the majority of the cases and it’s increasing the whole time,” he added.

Last week Health Minister Sajid Javid said omicron is spreading much faster than other variants, adding that at the current trajectory omicron cases in the country could surpass 1 million by the end of December.

The UK on Sunday raised its COVID-19 alert level to Level 4 – its second-highest level – amid a surge in cases of the omicron variant.

Level 4, according to the government’s guidance, means "a COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high and direct COVID-19 pressure on health care services is widespread and substantial or rising.”

The country had been at Level 3 since May.

To date the UK has reported 3,137 cases of the new variant.

The UK has recorded over 10.8 million cases and more than 146,400 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Hüseyin Demir