Covid cases hit new record HIGH as 88k infected in 24 hours and Omicron jumps 16%

CASES of Covid-19 have reached their highest daily total for a second day in a row today.

A total of 88,376 new infections were reported today a 12.4 per cent increase from yesterdays rate of 78,610.

Omicron cases have also increased by 16 per cent today with a further 1,691 cases being reported.

The rise in infections today comes as England's top doctor revealed that Omicron's R rate could be as high as 5 in some parts of the UK.

In order to curb infections and save Christmas, Brits have been urged to come forward and get their booster jabs either by booking on the NHS portal or by going to a walk-in centres.

The Sun is also urging readers to sign up to the Jabs Army campaign so that the rollout goes smoothly and so that Britain can get boosted.

Today has been a record day for the UK's booster campaign with the NHS reporting that 25 million people have now received their booster jabs.

Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup this afternoon said that everyone needs to play their part and come forward for their jabs.

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An additional 146 deaths caused by Covid-19 were also reported today, witharound 849 patients being admitted to hospital with the bug daily.

Professor Chris Whitty said Omicron is “highly transmissible and the rates are going to continue to go up”. 

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The R value represents how many people one infected person passes the virus to. 

If Omicron's R value is 5, it would mean 10 people infected with it would lead to 50 more cases.

The R value needs to stay below 1 in order for the outbreak to shrink.

Prof Whitty told the Commons Health and Social Care Committee: “I think what we will see with this – and I think we are seeingre it in South Africa – is that the upswing will be incredibly fast, even if people are taking more cautious actions, as they are.

“That will help slow it down, but it’s still going to be very fast.

“It’ll probably therefore peak really quite fast. My anticipation is it may then come down faster than previous peaks but I wouldn’t want to say that for sure.

“I’m just saying that that is a possibility.”

Omicron is moving so fast that confirmed numbers are being reported with a lag, and likely do not represent the true scale of the problem.

There have been over 11,000 confirmed cases of Omicron so far, based on genetic testing. 

A further 15,000 or so have been spotted through testing surveillance, while there are likely thousands more undetected. 

Generally, the number of people being diagnosed with the disease each day is soaring and yesterday’s daily count was the highest ever, at 78,600.

KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES

While infections continue to rise, Prof Whitty urged Brits to 'prioritise' the events that matter most in the run up to Christmas.

It's a message that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stood behind, with the PM insisting he won't impose more restrictions.

Angry MPs erupted in the Commons earlier and accused the PM and scientists of plunging Britain into a lockdown in all but name.

Ex-health minister Steve Brine raged: "At a stroke the Chief Medical Officer changed government policy and put this country – certainly hospitality – into effective lockdown".

Tory MP Steve Baker said that while Mr Johnson wasn't closing pubs "formally" the grim warnings had left hospitality fighting to stay open amid a deluge of cancellations.

At last night's gloomy press conference the PM stressed "we're not closing hospitality, we're not cancelling people's parties or their ability to mix".

But chief medical officer Prof Whitty told people to "prioritise social interactions that really matter to them" to stop the rip of Omicron.

And this morning Health Minister Gillian Keegan told revellers to sit "spaced apart" at Christmas bashes.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said it's clear that we have no time to waste with the new variant.

He explained that boosters are 'critical' in strengthening our defences against the virus.

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