Scientists have warned that Omicron waves could pose a threat to the NHS just like the coronavirus peak.

Based on real-world evidence, the variant that evolved from vaccine resistance and increased infectiousness is more likely than Delta to infect humans. 

Although there are only 246 Omicron cases so far in the UK (as of now), Professor Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia says that many Omicrons could be hiding. 

Doctors in the South African epicentre of the new strain have insisted that most patients suffer only mild illness, with the US’ top Covid expert Dr Anthony Fauci claiming it ‘doesn’t look like there’s a great degree of severity to it’. 

British scientists have warned, however, against the notion that this strain is stronger and claimed that it would put pressure on the NHS because it has the ability to infect more people. 

One mathematical modeller predicted there could be up to 3,000 hospital admissions per day in the UK in January if Omicron takes off domestically — compared to the 4,000 per day at the peak last year.  

There are approximately 46,000 Covid cases per day in Britain. Data from Covid Genomics UK Consortium(COG-UK), suggests that the new strain may be behind about one in sixty of these cases.

Covid hospital admissions in South Africa’s Guateng province — ground zero of the outbreak — have risen 230 per cent in the fortnight since its discovery, with 2,100 patients admitted last week, raising further doubts about the claim its milder.  

Omicron’s full extent of infectiousness, vaccine vulnerability, or lethality will not be known by scientists until two weeks later. However, they are able to isolate and study the virus in the laboratory, as well as its biology, and then test it for vaccines. 

However, it’s causing a dramatic rise in South Africa’s number of infections. Yesterday, there were 11,125, an increase of fivefold within a week. It is unclear how the situation will play out in the UK where over 70% of South Africans have been immunized. 

The law requiring that masks be worn in public places and shops is expected to continue in Britain through the New Year. This comes as ministers fight to keep in line with demands for more restrictive measures in the lead up to Christmas. 

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

On average, 46,000 Covid patients are diagnosed each day in the UK. Covid Genomics UK Consortium data (COG UK) shows that around 1 in 666 cases, or 1.4%, is affected by the new strain.

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 32 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

Scientists are afraid of this image, which prompted UK ministers to boost the UK’s vaccine rollout. It also saw the return of English mask mandates. Experts fear that the Omicron supermutant Omicron variant will be the most deadly and vaccine-resistant yet. It contains 32 spike protein mutations. This graphic was released by the nation’s leading variant monitoring team. It also shows how the strain is more advanced than the Delta strain. There are nearly five times the number of modifications to the spike. 

South African scientists have maintained that Omicron is causing only mild illness and have accused the UK of overreacting by shutting its borders to travellers from swathes of the continent. But Boris Johnson today denied the allegations. Visiting police in Merseyside, the Prime Minister told reporters: 'No, I think what we're doing is responding to the pandemic'

South African scientists maintain that Omicron causes only mild illnesses and accuse the UK of being overreactive by closing its borders to travelers from large areas of Africa. Boris Johnson denied today the claims. According to Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of Merseyside told reporters that they were responding to pandemics.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer receiving his Covid booster vaccination at a pharmacy in London

Labour leader Sir Keir starmer received his Covid vaccination booster at a London pharmacie

Professor Paul Hunter, from the school of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told BBC Breakfast: ‘How it’s likely to spread in the UK still uncertain, but I think the early signs are that it will probably spread quite quickly and probably start outcompeting Delta and become the dominant variant probably within the next weeks or a month or so at least.

“The biggest remaining question is how dangerous it would be if you get Covid from this Omicron variation, and that is the question we are currently struggling to answer.

According to him, travel restrictions have very little impact. However, he said that they can demotivate countries by making them more openly honest about their situation in order to avoid economic sanctions. Border restrictions are not effective in stopping the spread of infection within countries.

“We knew that before Covid. This is knowledge we have had for many decades, or even centuries to be truthful.

South African scientists maintain that Omicron causes only mild illnesses and accuse the UK of being overreactive by closing its borders to travelers from large swathes across the continent.

But Boris Johnson today denied the allegations. According to Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, he told journalists that his government was responding to pandemics when he visited Merseyside police.

“We took decisive steps to eradicate Omicron as the first nation in the world. We automatically added 10 countries to our red list. Then we stated that any person coming from Omicron would be required to stay in quarantine for at least a few days.

“We will now go further, and we’ll be increasing those measures as we observe Omicron spread around the world.

I don’t believe that we should alter the general guidance and advice about Omicron within this country. It is still unknown how deadly it really is and what effect it will have on deaths and hospitalizations.