Two new cases of Omicron coronavirus variant confirmed in London
Two more cases of the Omicron variant have been discovered in the capital, as England prepares to tighten Covid rules tomorrow.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the two cases have links to travel in southern Africa.
The pair are not connected to each other and are not linked to the previously confirmed cases, the agency confirmed.
One case is located in Camden, north London while the other case is located in Wandsworth, south west London.
The two people and their households have been told to self-isolate, and the UKHSA will organise targeted testing at locations where the individuals were likely to be infectious.
It follows yesterday’s news of a positive case who had spent time in Westminster, central London, before leaving the country. There have been five cases now confirmed in England in total.
Cases have also been confirmed in Essex and Nottingham, as well as a handful in Scotland.
Mask rules in shops and public transport are set to return tomorrow (Tuesday) while international travel rules have been toughened.
The variant has caused alarm as it is thought it may evade vaccine immunity due to having a different spike protein to the variant that vaccines were modelled on.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of UKHSA, urged Brits to get vaccinated and warned it was likely more cases would be confirmed in the coming weeks.
She said: “We are continuing our efforts to understand the effect of this variant on transmissibility, severe disease, mortality, antibody response and vaccine efficacy.
“The guidance on vaccination is changing to help all of us bolster our defences in the face of this new variant. Everyone should complete a primary course as soon as possible – for most this will be a first and second dose. For some more vulnerable a third dose is available.”
Harries added: “It is very likely that we will find more cases over the coming days as we are seeing in other countries globally and as we increase case detection through focussed contact tracing. That’s why it’s critical that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms isolates and gets a PCR test immediately.”
Booster jabs are to be offered to all over 18s, the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations confirmed today.