Britain on Monday confirmed what is thought to be the first confirmed Omicron Death after infection with the Omicron variant, as the country launched an ambitious Covid booster shot programme to stop the virus spiralling out of control.
On a visit to a vaccination centre in west London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Omicron accounted for about 40 percent of the cases in the British capital, and hospital admissions were rising.
“Sadly, at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron,” he told reporters, a day after warning that the country faces a “tidal wave” of infection.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) told AFP: “It appears indeed that this is the first confirmed Omicron death.”
But the Centre said many cases around the world were not genome-sequenced, so it was “impossible to know whether this is the first Omicron death”.
In South Africa, where the virus mutation was first identified, no deaths linked to Omicron have been officially announced, the department of health said.
Britain — one of the worst-hit countries with 146,000 Covid deaths since last year — on Sunday sounded the alarm because of high levels and rising rates of transmission.