First person dies from omicron variant in UK, PM says


People queue on Westminster Bridge for booster jabs at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. Britain faces a “tidal wave” of infections from the omicron coronavirus variant and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a huge increase in booster vaccinations to strengthen defenses against it. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA via AP)

LONDON (Reuters) – At least one patient has died in the United Kingdom after contracting the omicron variant of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

“Sadly at least one patient has now been confirmed to have died with omicron,” Johnson told reporters.

“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 recognize the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population.”

Since the first omicron cases were detected on Nov. 27 in the United Kingdom, Johnson has imposed tougher restrictions, and on Sunday he urged people to get booster shots to prevent the health service from being overwhelmed.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the omicron coronavirus variant was spreading at a “phenomenal rate” and now accounted for about 40% of infections in London.

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