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UK reports more than 100,000 daily coronavirus cases

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that the rapid spread of the Omicron variant meant curbs could be imposed after Christmas.

Britain has recorded 106,122 coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period, exceeding 100,000 daily cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic and bringing the total number of cases in the country to 11,647,473, according to official figures released Wednesday.

Experts said there are likely to be hundreds of thousands of infections per day, with many being missed by the system.

The country also reported a further 140 coronavirus-related deaths, taking the national death toll to 147,573.

The latest figures came as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed Tuesday that he will not introduce any further COVID restrictions in England before Christmas, but warned that the rapid spread of the Omicron variant meant curbs could still be imposed after Christmas.

In a video posted on social media by Downing Street, the prime minister said: "People can go ahead with their Christmas plans." However, he urged caution and suggested people should take a test before meeting elderly relatives.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson records a video in London, Britain, Dec. 21, 2021.  (Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street/Handout via Xinhua)

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced Wednesday that people in England will now only have to isolate for seven days if they can produce negative lateral flow tests on both day six and seven. He said those leaving quarantine after day seven should "continue to remain cautious."

Photo taken on Dec. 19, 2021 shows a general view of NHS (National Health Service) COVID Vaccine Center at Wembley Stadium in London, Britain. (Photo by Ray Tang/Xinhua)

Javid also said he has signed contracts for an extra 4.25 million courses of antivirals for the National Health Service (NHS) to help Britain "build our defenses" against the Omicron variant.

Meanwhile, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford urged people to work together to get through the COVID crisis. Drakeford said cases of the new variant have "risen sharply" in Wales and there has also been a "rapid rise" in the overall rates of the virus.

Speaking at a news briefing to announce more restrictions, he said he expects this trend will "continue and accelerate."

"We are now entering a really serious phase of the pandemic," Drakeford said.

More than 89 percent of people aged 12 and over in Britain have had their first vaccine dose and around 82 percent have received both doses, according to the latest figures. Some 53 percent have received a booster jab, or the third vaccine dose.

Published : December 23, 2021

By : Xinhua