Home World UK hospitals to come under “considerable” pressure from omicron, Johnson warns

UK hospitals to come under “considerable” pressure from omicron, Johnson warns

British hospitals will be under "considerable" Pressure over the next few weeks due to the omicron variant of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Monday, while scrapping further restrictions to contain its rapid spread.

"We have to recognize that the pressure on our public health service, on our hospitals, is going to be considerable for the next two weeks, and perhaps more."he said on the sidelines of a visit to a vaccination center in England.

"There is no doubt that omicron continues to spread throughout the country", but this variant is "clearly less virulent" than others such as alpha and delta, he stressed.

The UK, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic with nearly 149,000 deaths, is facing a skyrocketing number of new cases (more than 137,000 cases in England and Wales on Sunday) attributed to omicron.

However, Johnson ruled out for the moment imposing more restrictions on part of teleworking, the use of indoor masks and sanitary passes for mass events, which are already in force, relying on a massive campaign of booster vaccines that, he said, has achieved that 76% of adults receive an extra dose.

"The combination of things that we are doing at the moment is, I think, the correct one"said the leader, who faces the opposition of a good part of his Conservative Party to more restrictions.

"Unfortunately, the majority of people in intensive care were not vaccinated, and the vast majority, around 90%, did not receive a booster dose."he added.

However, his government decided to recommend high school students wear masks in class starting this week.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper also reported on Saturday that it could extend the work-from-home recommendation, which has been in effect since mid-December, into January.

In addition to the increase in hospital admissions, the health service faces thousands of absences of health workers in isolation due to a coronavirus infection or contact cases.

The spike in infections is disrupting many sectors, such as transportation and fire services, and causing fear in teachers about returning to the classroom.

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