Covid-19 Omicron variant: After 336 cases, UK confirms community transmission

Most of the cases had no history of international travel, health secretary says


By Prasun Sonwalkar

Published: Mon 6 Dec 2021, 10:02 PM

The number of Omicron cases in the United Kingdom on Monday rose to 336 as health secretary Sajid Javid confirmed the occurrence of community transmission in the House of Commons, since most of the cases had no history of international travel.

Tighter travel rules for incoming passengers take effect from 4am on Tuesday (December 7), while Nigeria was added to the red list of countries on Monday morning. Of the new Omicron cases, 21 were linked to travel from Nigeria.

The figures, Javid said, mean there is “community transmission across multiple regions of England”.

As experts said the real figure of the number of Omicron cases would be over 1,000, Javid noted that the window between infection and infectiousness may be shorter in the case of Omicron, compared to that with the Delta or other variants.

He told MPs that from 4am on Tuesday, anyone travelling to the UK from countries not on the red list must show proof of a negative PCR or lateral flow test whether they are vaccinated or not. This applies to those aged 12 and above and tests must be taken no more than 48 hours before travel.

Javid stressed these are "temporary measures while we improve our understanding of Omicron", adding that the data will be reviewed and the House of Commons will be updated next week.

Of the 336 Omicron cases detected, there are 261 confirmed cases in England, 71 in Scotland and four in Wales.

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