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OMICRON cases have jumped up by a third in the UK, data shows.
A further 3,201 cases of the super infectious variant have been reported on top of yesterday's.
The UK Health and Security Agency said confirmed Omicron cases in the UK now total 14,909.
But infections are more in the region of several hundreds of thousands.
At least 37,500 positive swab samples are now “s-gene” negative – a tell-tale sign of the variant.
In England, it’s likely Omicron will have dominance by today, given that yesterday, the UKHSA said it accounted for 41 per cent of all Covid cases.
It's the cause of the UK's record-high daily case numbers, with yesterday's figure of 88,000 being the highest ever reported in the pandemic.
Omicron is the dominant strain of coronavirus in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon said as she warned a “tsunami” of the variant is hitting the country.
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The First Minister said 51.4 per cent of Covid-19 cases in Scotland are now likely to be Omicron.
Ms Sturgeon said in Scotland, the R number, which measures the rate of infection, could be above four.
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Cases of the virus have increased in the country by more than 40 per cent in the past week.
Ms Sturgeon urged people to stay at home in the run-up to Christmas, saying the emergence of Omicron has been the “cruellest of blows”.
“The tsunami I warned about a week ago is now starting to hit us,” she said.
“However, and this is a key point, a really key point actually, we shouldn’t be fatalistic about this. We are not powerless in the face of it.”
The First Minister said it “seems that boosters are still very effective in reducing the risk of falling seriously ill from Omicron”.
People are being urged to get their boosters as soon as possible because it gives the best protection against Omicron.
The Sun is also urging readers to sign up to the Jabs Army campaign so that the rollout goes smoothly and fast.
As Christmas approaches, Boris Johnson insisted people should still enjoy festivities, claiming his message is in line with England's top doctor.
Professor Chris Whitty called for limits on meeting friends at Wednesday's Downing Street conference, where he joined the PM.
He gloomily advised the public to "prioritise" Christmas socialising.
Mr Johnson said today: “What both Chris Whitty and I are saying is that there is a big wave of Omicron coming through.
“People need to be prudent. You need to think about your budget of risk.”
Towns and cities across the UK fell silent yesterday as the threat of Covid saw thousands of Brits opt to "self-isolate" and work from home to avoid a spoilt Christmas.
Roads in London were at their quietest during rush hour since summer this year – with streets deserted, congestion eased and pubs, shops & lunch spots empty.
The PM warned that Omicron is "a very serious threat to us now" – but refused to buckle to doomster demands to lock down.
“We are seeing a considerable wave coming through and people have got to be prepared and they have got to understand what it entails,” he said.
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