Today, fury erupted over a lack in transparency regarding the UK’s first Omicron-related death. The doctor who told the Government that more details were needed to put an end to ‘unnecessary alarm’.

Experts want to know more about Omicron’s fatality in the UK. This includes information on the person’s vaccine status and whether they were a part of a group that is vulnerable to Covid. 

Karol Sikora, a professor of medicine and consultant oncologist in the field of cancer treatment said that the government was failing to provide enough information regarding the death and was making it ‘unnecessarily alarming. 

He asked, “Were they at the hospital because of Covid? Or were they there because they’d been hit by a bus?”  

Boris Johnson revealed both the UK’s, first death due to Omicron on a visit to a vaccination clinic in Paddington, west London.

“Sadly, Omicron produces hospitalisations. Unfortunately, at least one Omicron patient has died. 

Johnson failed to disclose the individual who died or their age, nor if there were any underlying medical conditions that made them more vulnerable. Johnson also did not mention whether Omicron was the primary or secondary cause. 

The Prime Minister told the country last night that a wave of Omicron 'is coming' as he ramped up the booster drive to meet his target of delivering a million jabs a day. The PM is pictured above at a vaccination centre in Westminster, London

Last night, the Prime Minister spoke to the nation about a new wave of Omicron as he increased the booster drive in order to reach his goal of giving a million vaccinations per day. Pictured above, is the Prime Minister at Westminster vaccination centre.

Following the UK’s confirmation of 1,239 more Omicron-related cases in the UK, the UK Covid Alert level was elevated to 4 from 3 

This is believed to have been the first Omicron death worldwide.

The variant is found in almost all South African cases. However, it’s likely the majority of deaths are caused by the mutation. Unfortunately testing has not been done to confirm this. 

The UK’s Omicron Death: What can we learn?

Boris Johnson confirmed today that there are very few details about the first Omicron-related death in Britain and around the world. 

Did the individual not have a vaccine? 

Unclear. We don’t know much about their vaccination history, including whether or not they received Covid boosters. However, the UKHSA claims that Omicron was most commonly treated with two doses Covid vaccines.

They were they at risk? 

Undetermined. Covid is more common in older people than those who have certain health problems. This is why the priority was given to them and their health care workers.

Omicron was caught from where?.

Unknown. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact location of a Covid-infected person unless there are multiple infections, also known as superspreaders. 

The location in which the deceased lived is also unknown. 

Did they die in an emergency room?

Although the UKHSA is unsure, they have confirmed that Omicron was found in the body of the deceased. It could be that they had been admitted to hospital to treat Covid. Omicron was then later confirmed to be their variant. It is possible that they contracted Omicron during a hospital procedure.

Why don’t we hear it?

The confidentiality of patient information has been mentioned as a reason. 

We will be able to find out more. When will we know more?

The UKHSA produces a weekly report about Covid deaths and cases. The weekly report at the conclusion of each week may contain additional information about this and other Omicron deaths. 

Omicron was also confirmed by health bosses. Although the UK Health Security Agency, UKHSA confirmed that everyone was between 18-85 years of age and had received at least two doses Covid vaccines, they refused to state if any have had boosters.

However, the UKHSA did confirm that Omicron had been diagnosed at a hospital. 

Karol Sikora, a professor of medicine and consultant oncologist, said that the government should provide more information about the death in order to ease people’s mind.   

“Have they ever had booster?” He said, “Are these elderly?”  

“There are many nuances to this subject, and we don’t have the right information.”

The average age of Covid deaths in Britain is 58. He also stated that although the person may have died from Omicron rather than because they were infected, it was not a reason for panic. 

“The Covid average age at death is 82.5.” He stated that a large number of people 82 years old die each year.

“No information has been given, but I believe it to be an old boy who tested positive. He may have died from a heart attack or in his sleep, so we don’t know.

“It’s unnecessarily alarming.”

Professor Sikora said his suspicion is that the silence regarding whether the person was vaccinated or not indicated to him that the person died of another cause while they had Omicron. 

‘I suspect that it’s a death, which is unfortunate, but is due to something else, and it just happens to be Covid positive that’s why they’re not making a big noise  about them being vaccinated or not,’ he said.

Answering questions about Omicron’s death, Prime Minister’s spokesperson said patient confidentiality was the reason. However, more information could be coming in UKHSA’s end-of-week report.   

‘Obviously when it comes to individual deaths there is a right to patient confidentiality so we are limited in what we can say,’ he said. 

‘But we will provide further breakdown on things like characteristics, both of cases, numbers in hospital, through the surveillance report.’

Omicron’s death was a tragic result of the speed at which it spread. This meant that although Omicron is not more dangerous than Covid per se, there were more Omicron deaths. 

‘I don’t think anyone is in any doubt that there will be deaths because of Omicron. That is sadly something that we have to face because of this increased transmissibility.’ 

Despite the increased attention paid to Covid deaths by the media today, the overall number of victims actually declined over the last week. 

The Department of Health’s (DOH) daily update revealed there have 38 deaths, down 7 per cent on last week, as well as another 926 daily hospital admissions, up 14 per cent in a week.

The DOH update also showed that there were 54,661 overall Covid cases in the past 24 hours, marking a rise of just 6 per cent week-on-week.

The No10 scientific advisors warned that this number could reach an alarming 1 million per day by the 31st of the month, if Omicron keeps growing at the current rate.  

Because of the nature and time taken for someone to become seriously ill, hospitalizations and death due to Omicron only are now beginning to appear.

This was something UKHSA’s chief medical adviser, Dr Susan Hopkins, was keen to point out today: ‘Hospitalisations always lag a few weeks behind infections, therefore it isn’t surprising that we have started to see people being admitted to hospital with the Omicron variant. 

 Dr Hopkins also urged people to get a Covid booster on the back of the news regarding hospitalisations and the death,

“Our data suggests that the booster vaccine works better than just 2 doses. She said that anyone over the age 18 may now go to a vaccine center. 

Wes Streeting, shadow health secretary, said that the death highlighted the ‘gravity of the situation.

Twitter: He wrote, “The tragic news of Britain’s first Omicron Death underlines how serious the situation is. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and their friends.”

“This is the reason why the booster rollout was so crucial and how public health measures can be used to control its spread.”

The lack of transparency in the matter of the death was matched by criticisms of the way No10’s booster vaccine rollout, which was supposedly turbo-charged, was fraught with problems today.

It also came as entirety of NHS England was put on the highest level of alert for the first time since March after the UK’s Omicron outbreak surged by 50 per cent in a day. 

Pictured above is the current pace of the booster programme (green bars) and how it will have to ramp up to hit the million jabs a day target (red bars). NHS bosses warn scaling up the programme will be 'incredibly difficult'

The above image shows the current rate of booster programmes (green bars) as well as how they will need to increase to meet the goal of 1 million jabs every day (red bars). NHS chiefs warn that scaling up the program will prove difficult.

Chief executives of the health services have increased the level of alert to 4 because they fear that Covid patients will cause the shutdown of some vital services.  

The NHS has now told people not to try to book booster jabs online 

Today, NHS chiefs urged Britons who desperately needed their Covid booster jabs to go back tomorrow. The website crashed once again today and there were huge lines outside of vaccination centers across the country.

Many thousands of people rushed to receive their third dose just two weeks before Christmas. This was after Boris Johnson announced that all UK adults would be eligible for the booster program.

Those aged 30 or over are now eligible to book their vaccine online via the NHS website, while people aged 18 to 29 can book there from Wednesday – but all UK adults can now go to a walk-in centre from today.

The website was unable to process jab bookings. These problems are currently being worked on. Your patience is appreciated.

Later, the NHS tweeted that Covid vaccine booking services were in high demand and was operating a wait list. Bookings open for those aged between 18-29 on Wednesday, December 15. All others who experience waits should try to book again today or tomorrow.

The booster expansion plan is expected to focus on walk-ins rather than online bookings – and those trying to get an appointment on the website face having to wait until after Christmas, insiders told Politico’s London Playbook.

Long lines formed outside temporary vaccination sites, pharmacies and hospitals across Britain this morning. Guy’s Hospital in London and St Thomas’ Hospital were the most crowded.

After the Prime Minister made a statement on televised last night, he confirmed that he had turbocharged his booster programme. As a result of this delay in the expiration date for adults receiving a third jab, the month is now being extended.

An Army draft will be made and the clinic hours expanded to treat 18 million people by January 1, nearly one million per day. This is after the PM warned about a Covid tsunami that could destroy the NHS and kill many.

Johnson stated that the “Omicron emergency” meant boosters are essential to protect our freedoms, and our way life. The NHS website crashed within minutes after Johnson’s announcement. Thousands rushed to get appointments.

It came as officials confirmed another 1,576 cases of the highly-evolved Omicron variant over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 4,713 — however this is believed to be a vast underestimate with the true number several times greater because not all positive tests are analysed for variants.  

Sajid Javid (Health Secretary) stated that the current best estimate is that there are 200,000 daily infections in the country. Omicron will be dominant in London tomorrow, and nationwide within days. 

This happened as critical stocks of lateral flow test kits ran out. The message stated that there were no more home testing kits and encouraged Britons to try again. Officials said there were no shortages, however they had stopped accepting new orders because of the ‘exceptionally large’ demand. The Government stated that kits could be still picked up at community sites such as schools, colleges and pharmacies. PCR swabs were also available. 

From tomorrow, vaccinated people who are close contacts of a Covid case will be asked to swab themselves once a day instead of having to isolate. As MPs vote to approve the measure, anyone going to big events or nightclubs must report a negative result.

To avoid Covid, leading experts advise that people test their self repeatedly before the Christmas season begins. 

Britons who desperately needed their doses of top-up were forced to wait in five-hour lines to access them. Centres warned that the supply was already low. The Etihad Stadium in Manchester was full of confused 20-somethings who tried to get booster shots.

In the meantime, thousands of people tried to obtain a booster for NHS, but it crashed. Health service leaders encouraged everyone to try again tomorrow. 

Britons also struggled to find a booster appointment in their area. Yorkers were advised to travel 31-miles to Doncaster’s centre, while a Bicester 37-year old in Oxfordshire said that their closest clinic was 26-miles away. 

Mr. Javid promises to throw everything at the Covid booster program, which aims to kill all 18-year-olds by the end of the year. Some elective surgeries, such as hip replacements, will need to be delayed in order to achieve this.

But NHS bosses warn that scaling up the booster programme now will be ‘incredibly difficult’ and inevitably have ‘consequences’, with patients once again facing the threat of cancelled operations. But Mr Javid said that the treatment will not affect cancer patients.

In a massively ambitious move last night, the Prime Minister brought forward the deadline to offer all over-18s a third jab by New Year’s Day as he warned the country: ‘There is a tidal wave of Omicron coming.’

To achieve this target, approximately 750 Armed Forces personnel will be deployed along with thousands of volunteers. Clinic hours will also be extended in order to give out as many as 20 million jabs within the next two-and a half weeks. 

This drive will see the formation of 42 military planning units in every region. It also includes additional mobile and vaccine sites, as well as an increase of clinic hours to allow them to operate seven days per week. There will be thousands more volunteer vaccinators who have been trained.

But concerns about whether the Government could even hit the goal were raised almost immediately after Mr Johnson’s 8pm televised announcement last night. Even at the height of the NHS’s vaccine drive in March, the health service never managed more than 850,000 jabs a day.

Johnson refused today to exclude the possibility that more Covid rules could be implemented to counter Omicron. Scotland and Wales already hint at stricter controls.