Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has declared a “major incident” in the capital due to the Omicron variant spreading rapidly.
The announcement means there will be closer co-ordination between key public services responding to the situation.
At a point: 5 key glances
- The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said on Saturday (18 December) there had been 10,059 additional confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 reported across the UK
- Figures from the UKHSA on showed that the number of confirmed Omicron cases in England stood at 23,168, up 9,427 on Friday’s (17 December) total
- Omicron cases in Northern Ireland rose to 827, Scotland’s cases reached 792, and in Wales there are 181
- The number of deaths in England of people with the Omicron variant has risen to seven, from the previous figure of one
- Hospital admissions in England for people with confirmed or suspected Omicron rose from 65 to 85
What’s been said
“The surge in cases of the Omicron variant across our capital is hugely concerning, so we are once again declaring a major incident because of the threat of Covid-19 to our city.
“The Omicron variant has quickly become dominant with cases increasing rapidly and the number of patients in our hospitals with Covid-19 on the rise again.
“We are already feeling the impact across the capital and while we are still learning about this variant, it’s right that London’s key agencies work closely together to minimise the impact on our city, including helping to protect the vital vaccination programme.
“We know that the vaccine offers our best defence against the virus. There are now more clinics in London delivering vaccines than at any point during the pandemic. I urge all Londoners to book their appointment or to go to one of the many walk-in centres across the capital as soon as you can.”
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan
The mayor previously declared a major incident on 8 January due to the rapid spread of Covid-19 and its impact on the NHS, but was able to stand it down on 26 February as case numbers fell.
A major incident is declared when an event or situation with a range of serious consequences requires special arrangements to be enforced by one or more emergency response teams, such as the police, ambulance service or fire brigade.
On Saturday (18 December), Mr Khan spoke to reporters at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge football ground, which is being used as a vaccination centre this weekend, where he said he was "incredibly concerned" about the increase of Omicron cases in London.
He said he has been meeting with colleagues from the NHS, councils and the fire service about the rise in infections of the Omicron Covid variant.