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Four key Omicron numbers that could spark more restrictions and what they are right now

BRITS have rejoiced this week as the government ruled that no new restrictions would be implemented, meaning New Year’s celebrations can continue.

Infections have continued to rise but many people who catch Omicron are reporting cold-like symptoms.

Brits will be able to celebrate New Year freely but have been urged to be 'sensible' as Covid cases are still high

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Brits will be able to celebrate New Year freely but have been urged to be ‘sensible’ as Covid cases are still highCredit: LNP

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At the start of this month Boris Johnson revealed the four key numbers that he said would determine if England needed more restrictions.

He said: “[We will be] guided by the hard medical data around four – efficacy of vaccines, severity of Omicron, speed or spread and rate of hospitalisations.

“We will monitor the data and keep it under review and we need to be humble in the face of the virus.

“As soon as it becomes clear boosters are capable of holding Omicron and we have boosted enough then we will be able to move forward as before.”

A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits’ arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

With that in mind, there are four key things that ministers and health officials will need to consider before implementing more coronavirus restrictions.

Follow our Omicron Covid live blog for all the latest news & stories

1. Vaccines

In a bid to stop Omicron, millions of booster vaccines have been rolled out across the country and health officials have warned that two doses won’t protect you – which is why it’s imperative everyone gets a booster jab.

In total, 56.1 million Brits have had a first dose, 47.2 million have had a second and 32.6 million have also had a booster dose.

Data has found boosters slash the risk of falling seriously ill from Omicron by up to 86 per cent.

Top scientists tested how blood samples from jabbed individuals fare against the mutant strain.

Three doses still gave high levels of protection from Omicron in terms of needing hospital treatment, but their ability to prevent mild infection fell, experts from Imperial College London found.

2. Omicron

Cases of the Omicron variant have surged in the last months, but data coming out of South Africa, where it was first detected, indicates that infections have started to slow.

People who catch it may be asymptomatic and not even know or simply show some symptoms and have an unpleasant week with a milder form.

But while the variant should be taken seriously, the working theory at the moment is that for jabbed people with no underlying health conditions, they should generally recover at home.

3. Speed of spread

This is one of the most concerning numbers to look out for as more cases ultimately lead to higher rates of hospitalisations.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said there had been 17,269 additional confirmed cases Omicron reported across the UK yesterday and it is now believed to be responsible for 90 per cent of cases in the UK.

In total, there are 177,201 cases of the virus.

Yesterday Covid cases hit a record high with 129,471 more people testing positive.

It’s not yet clear how many of the Omicron cases feed into the daily total number of infections.

But coronavirus-related deaths fell, with 18 fatalities recorded in the UK.

The total number of Covid cases recorded in the UK currently stands at 12,339,462, with 148,021 deaths overall.

Over the three days over the Christmas period, cases had risen by over 320,000.

4. Hospitalisations

The number of deaths in England of people with the Omicron variant has risen to 49, according to the UKHSA.

Hospital admissions in England for people with confirmed or suspected Omicron rose to 668.

Monitoring hospitalisations is key – as this is one of the main concerns with the pandemic as this can lead to the NHS being overwhelmed.

One top doctor said that mass deaths and hospitalisations were over due to the success of the jabs rollout.

Professor Sir John Bell backed Boris Johnson’s decision to save New Year’s Eve and introduce NO new lockdown rules yesterday.

The regius professor of medicine at Oxford University said last year’s “horrific scenes” at hospitals where thousands suffered painful deaths from Covid-19 will remain a thing of the of the past.

Sir John said Britain’s vaccine drive is responsible for keeping hospitalisation and death rates low – as the latest analysis shows admissions are down more than 50 per cent in a week.

In the January peak, when Alpha hit the country, the hospitalisations were far greater at a record high of almost 2,000.

At present around 1,171 people are being admitted to hospital with Covid on a daily basis.

Around 842 people are on a ventilator.



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