According to the Health Secretary, today’s confirmation by him confirmed that the super-mutant Omicron Covid version is currently in circulation.

Sajid Javid stated to MPs that’multiple areas of England’ had seen cases of this variant, which was not connected with international travel.

He said that he couldn’t guarantee that the variant wouldn’t ‘knock our off our path to recovery’ and warned, ‘The window between infection & infectiousness might be shorter for Omicron’. 

The variant, which was first spotted last month by scientists in South Africa — the epicentre of the outbreak — has since spread to 52 countries. 

Due to the extensive mutations, experts fear that this strain could be immune from Covid vaccines. 

Scientists are weeks away from being able to determine the impact of the strain on deaths, infections and hospitalisations in the UK. They wait for real-world and laboratory data. 

Javid stated that the virus would be in circulation for many years and could lead to an increase in annual booster vaccines. 

The number of Omicron-infected people in Britain rose to 336, according to the Health Secretary. However, no one has been admitted. 

South African doctors insist that the majority of patients have mild illnesses. Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top Covid expert, stated today that it “doesn’t seem like it has a great deal of severity”. 

However, experts caution that this variant could also spread among young people. The lag time between becoming infected and being seriously ill may be masking how severe the disease is. 

British scientists warn, as well as the Government’s, that the virus could cause significant strain on the NHS due to the fact that it infects more people.

Sajid Javid told MPs 'multiple regions of England' were seeing cases of the variant that were not linked to international travel. And he said he could not guarantee the variant would not 'knock us off our road to recovery', warning the 'the window between infection and infectiousness may be shorter for the Omicron'

Sajid Javid said that multiple regions in England were experiencing cases of the variant, which was not connected to international travel. He said that he couldn’t guarantee the variant wouldn’t ‘knock our off our path to recovery’ and warned the Omicron that the window between infection or infectiousness might be smaller.

A total of 261 Omicron cases have been confirmed in England, while there is 71 in Scotland and four in Wales

There have been 261 Omicron cases confirmed in England. In Scotland, there are 71 and in Wales four.

In total, there are 46,000 Covid cases on average each day in the UK and data from the Covid Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) suggests the new strain is already behind around one in 66 of them, or 1.4 per cent

There are approximately 46,000 Covid cases per day in Britain. Data from Covid Genomics UK Consortium suggests that the new strain may be behind about one-third of those 66, which is 1.4 percent.

This is the image that has sparked fear among scientists, prompted ministers to turbocharge the UK's booster vaccine rollout and seen the return of mask mandates in England. It details the new super-mutant Omicron variant's spike protein mutations which experts fear will make it the most infectious and vaccine-resistant strain yet. The graphic, released by the country's top variant monitoring team, also lays bare how it is far more evolved than even the world-dominant Delta strain, with nearly five times as many alterations on the spike

This image has caused fear in scientists and prompted ministers at the UK to accelerate the rollout of booster vaccines. In England, mask mandates have returned. Experts fear that the super-mutant Omicron Omicron variant will be the most dangerous and vaccine-resistant yet. A graphic released by the top national variant monitoring group shows that the Omicron strain has nearly five times more modifications on its spike protein than the Delta strain. 

Christmas hope boosted after study shows that 70% of Omicrons have not mutated in order to avoid vaccines and natural immunity. 

Existing Covid jabs and prior infection should still protect people against severe illness from the Omicron super variant, according to a study hailed by one of No10’s top health chiefs.

Researchers have found promising results that, while this new strain is more resistant to micro-mutations that Delta, it still has large areas of infection that are susceptible to immune system attack. 

Italian researchers used a mathematical model of Omicron to predict how easily the virus would be detected by the human body, in an unprecedented amount of spike protein alterations.

They found that about 70 per cent of the spike had not evolved to evade vaccines or natural immunity and in theory will still be targeted by the immune system of a vaccinated or recently-infected person. 

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency and key No10 advisor, said the finding signalled a ‘glass half full’ scenario, with the variant unlikely to make jabs redundant like previously feared.

However, the immunologist raised concerns that Omicron contains three times more modifications to virus parts that are being attacked by antibodies or T cells (known as epitopes) than any other variation.

The Commons was informed by Mr Javid that there are now 261 Omicron cases confirmed in England, 71% in Scotland and 4 in Wales. This brings the total for the UK to 336. 

He added: “This covers cases that have no international links and it’s highly probable there’s now community transmission through multiple parts of England.”

Javid said, “We’re learning more about the new variant every day.

“Recent UK Health Security Agency analysis suggests that Omicron may have a shorter window of infection than the Delta variant. However, we do not yet know if Omicron is more dangerous or how it interacts to the vaccines.

“We cannot say with certainty whether Omicron could knock us off our path to recovery.”

He added, “We don’t leave anything to chance. We are trying to save time, to improve our defenses and while world-leading scientists evaluate this variant to determine its implications for the fight against Covid.

According to Mr Javid, Covid is a restriction on UK visitors who wish to undergo tests or isolate in quarantine rooms. These are temporary measures while researchers in the UK continue their research about the variant.

He said the booster programme and monoclonal antibody treatment sotrovimab, which was approved by the UK’s medicines watchdog, will also strengthen Britain’s defenses against the strain. 

‘We’re taking early action now so we don’t have to take tougher action later on and so we can take every opportunity to prevent more cases from arriving in our country,’ Mr Javid added. 

It comes as the UK recorded 51,459 new cases in the last 24 hours which was a fifth more than last Monday and the third time in a week that they have breached the 50,000 mark. A further 41 deaths occurred, a 17% increase over a week earlier.

The country received another 299.565 booster jabs on Sunday. This is significantly less than the target No10 set for 500,000 per-day last week to defend against the Omicron waves.  

Theresa May was the former prime minister and stated that the government ‘cannot react to new variants of stopping or starting sectors of its economy’. An annual boost ‘will almost certainly need’.

Total Covid cases are rising fastest in London and the South East of England with most of the Omicron infections linked to travellers flying back into the UK

London is seeing the fastest rise in Total Covid, with the majority of Omicron cases linked to travelers returning into the UK.

Mr Javid replied: ‘In terms of the severity of this, I think we shouldn’t jump to any conclusion, we just don’t have enough data.’

He said that the virus would not disappear for “many, many more years” and might lead to annual vaccines. However, he stated, “We have to find ways we can continue living as usual.”

When asked how many of the infected people tested positive are ill, Mr Javid told the Commons: ‘The number of confirmed cases in the UK is 336 – they are all by definition infected. 

“Some people may not be experiencing symptoms, while others might be suffering from illness,” said one of the patients.

Earlier today, Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, said he expected it to become the dominant variant ‘probably within the next weeks or a month’, based on how rapidly it is outpacing Delta in the South African epicentre.

According to him, while this timeline does not mean that there are no need for additional restrictions at Christmas, it doesn’t rule out the possibility of more restrictions at some time in the new year. 

Boris Johnson, however, refused today to exclude tougher Covid restrictions over Christmas. He simply stated that this year’s Christmas will be “better” than the previous one. In two weeks, he will review current Covid measures.

On a recent trip to Merseyside Mr Johnson mentioned that “We are still waiting to determine exactly how dangerous this is and its effect on hospitalisations and deaths.”