London The UK reported 93,045 cases of coronavirus on Friday, another record high for daily infections for the third consecutive day, as Omicron overtook Delta to become the dominant variant in London and Scotland.

Of the daily figure, 3,201 new cases were of Omicron compared to Thursday’s 1,691 to take the UK’s total for the new surging variant to 14,909.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said there were 65 patients in England’s hospitals with Omicron, with the number of deaths from the COVID-19 variant unchanged at one. There have been a further 111 coronavirus deaths recorded, down from last week’s figure of 120.

In England, the R number, which measures the rate of infection, has risen to between 1.0 and 1.2, compared with last week when it was estimated at between 0.9 and 1.1. It means every 10 people infected are likely to pass the disease to between 10 and 12 others. When the value is above 1.0, it means the epidemic is thought to be growing.

Omicron is thought to be much more transmissible than Delta and new research suggests the new variant largely evades immunity from past coronavirus infection or two vaccine doses.

The study from Imperial College London shows that vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic Omicron infection of between 0 per cent and 20 per cent after two jabs, and between 55 per cent and 80 per cent after a booster dose.

Researchers say the risk of reinfection with Omicron is 5.4 times greater than that of Delta, and Omicron is likely to have the same severity but hospital data remains “very limited”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is a “very serious threat and that the country is seeing a considerable wave coming through”. He said people have “got to be prepared” as he reiterated the government message of “get boosted now”.

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 51.4 per cent of COVID cases are now likely to be Omicron, making it the dominant variant.

Breakthrough infections generate strong immunity to COVID-19 variants: Study

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