First Omicron death has been confirmed in the UK as PM dismisses claim variant is 'milder'

AT least one person in the UK has died with the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Boris Johnson has said, as he refused to rule out tighter restrictions ahead of Christmas.

Monday, 13th December 2021, 3:42 pm

Speaking during a visit to a vaccination clinic near Paddington in west London, the Prime Minister said: ‘Sadly, yes, Omicron is producing hospitalisations and sadly at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron.

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‘So I think the idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus, I think that’s something we need to set on one side and just recognise the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population. So the best thing we can do is all get our boosters.’

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Members of the public queue to receive a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Picture: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

It came after Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the Government will ‘throw everything at’ the booster programme to tackle Omicron, which is spreading fast across the UK.

Mr Johnson repeatedly declined to rule out further coronavirus restrictions ahead of Christmas as he said the goal is to offer a booster to every adult by the end of the year.

There has been confusion over whether people will be guaranteed a jab by December 31, with NHS England saying everyone will have been offered the chance to book a booster.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister said people would be able to ‘get’ their jab by that date.

Speaking to broadcasters during his visit on Monday, the Prime Minister said: ‘Throughout the pandemic I’ve been at great pains to stress to the public that we have to watch where the pandemic is going and we take whatever steps are necessary to protect public health.

‘We think the steps that we are taking – so Plan B, combined with a hugely ambitious acceleration of the booster campaign, bringing it forward by a month so we offer a booster to every adult by the end of the year – we think that’s the right approach.

‘We now want to hit warp speed and we’ll have to attain a pace and a number of daily booster doses that will exceed anything that we’ve done before.

‘But I’ve got no doubt at all that we have the people, we have the enthusiasm, we have the fundamental optimism about what we can do, which we’ve learned from the experience of the last 18 months. And I know that people are going to rise to this.’

In England a booster is available to everyone aged 18 or over from this week as long as the second dose was at least three months ago.

Over-30s can already book a booster online and, from Wednesday, this will be extended to over-18s.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman later said that if those eligible booked in time, they had the offer that they could receive the jab – not just book an appointment for later – by the end of December.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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