By Muhammad Mussa
LONDON (AA) – The UK on Friday reported its highest daily rise in coronavirus cases for a third day in a row, smashing all previous records as the omicron variant spreads across the country rapidly.
With 93,045 new infections, the total caseload rose to 11,190,354. The nationwide death toll hit 147,048 as 111 new fatalities were recorded.
As cases rise exponentially, the government will chair an emergency meeting next week with the four nations of the UK to discuss the spread of the novel variant.
The omicron variant of the coronavirus, which was identified in South Africa last month and thought to have spread to Europe before its official detection, has fast established itself in the UK and across the world as the dominant strain.
On Tuesday, the British parliament voted in favor of implementing “Plan B” measures – new restrictions that could see mask mandates in public venues and public transport as well the introduction of vaccine passes.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made clear that the government was not canceling Christmas holiday events and that there would be no restrictions on gatherings or the closure of restaurants and cafes as well as pubs but offered a caution to people when thinking about socializing.
The UK on Sunday raised its COVID-19 alert to level 4 – its second-highest level – amid a surge in omicron cases.
Level 4, according to the government’s guidance, means “a COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high and direct COVID-19 pressure on health care services is widespread and substantial or rising.”
The country had been at level 3 since May.