Omicron infections rise by 39,923 as the PM urges Brits to get boosters

A FURTHER 39,923 Brits have tested positive for the Omicron variant today, bringing the total number of infections to 210,122.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson today urged everyone to come forward for the boosters and 'finish the job'.

Hospitalisation levels remain low – and this is a key element in determining further restrictions.

Omicron is now responsible for 90 per cent of cases in the UK and has taken over from the Delta variant.

It comes as 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.

Mr Johnson urged all Brits to come forward for their booster jabs today and said that around 90 per cent of people receiving treatment in intensive care for Omicron have not received their booster jabs.

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On a visit to a vaccine centre in Milton Keynes today, Mr Johnson said there were 2.4 million eligible double-jabbed people who were yet to take up the offer of a booster.

He told reporters: "I'm sorry to say this but the overwhelming majority of people who are currently ending up in intensive care in our hospitals are people who are not boosted.

"I've talked to doctors who say the numbers are running up to 90 per cent of people in intensive care, who are not boosted.

"If you're not vaccinated, you're eight times more likely to get into hospital altogether."

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As more data comes out on the severity of the illness, regulators have also been urged to slash isolation time to five days.

Before the Christmas break, health secretary Sajid Javid cut the number of isolation days from 10 to seven.

This week officials in the US have cut their isolation requirements from 10 days to five, prompting calls from Brits to further slash isolation.

However, the decision in the US by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has been criticised, with some saying it's 'reckless'.

Professor Paul Hunter said that while Covid is "not going away", it is "just one virus" that won't be a cause for concern by April 2022.

Omicron's less-severe symptoms mean infected Brits will eventually "go about their normal lives" with no quarantine at all, Professor Hunter said.

Self isolation rules have blighted essential services including the NHS, with 18,829 medics off work due to Covid up to December 19.

At present it's thought that close to 800,000 Brits are isolating.

Prof Hunter said yesterday: "Ultimately, we're going to have to let people who are positive with Covid go about their normal lives as they would do with any other cold. And so, at some point, we've got to relax this.

"If the self-isolation rules are what's making the pain associated with Covid, then we need to do that perhaps sooner rather than later."

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