Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

People admitted to hospital as a result of Omicron rises appear to be less ill than those admitted to the pandemic earlier, the vaccine minister said.

People admitted to hospital in the UK with COVID-19 as a result of the increases in the Omicron variant have “less severe” symptoms compared to those admitted to the pandemic earlier, an official said.

Maggie Throup, Minister for Vaccines and Public Health, also said that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were “about half of what they were a year ago”, despite the country’s record high virus caseload.

“It just shows the power of the vaccine,” she told Sky News on Tuesday.

Omicron is the dominant variant in the country, accounting for more than 90 percent of infections.

While hospitalizations increased, they did not follow the trajectory of daily cases, possibly reflecting the effect of vaccines, the probable laer erns of Omicron and the passage of time in people going to hospital after becoming infected with COVID-19.

The number of people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in England, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of the UK’s total population, has doubled in less than two weeks, rising to more than 14,000 – below the peak of 34,000 patients which was recorded last winter.

But the UK’s rising caseload has disrupted public life, with staff in a range of industries self-isolating, some train operators canceling services and schools facing education shortages as the term begins in England again.

Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands, who reported from London, said up to one million Britons were absent from work because they were “sick with COVID-19 or self-isolating”.

“The government says it has instructed its cabinet ministers to prepare for a worst-case scenario of perhaps one in four people who are off work,” he said. “If that happens, it’s obviously going to hit the National Health Service and the transportation network.”

According to Throup, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s virus strategy has worked, adding that no further restrictions are needed at this stage.

Johnson introduced a number of measures in England last month under his so-called “Plan B” approach, including making mask wearing on public transport and in shops mandatory.

But he stopped short from closing rallies or closing businesses, while stepping up an intensifying vaccination program to control the spread of Omicron.

Johnson warned Monday that pressure on hospitals would be “significant” in the next few weeks, but ruled out any immediate change of course.

He said the new variant was “clearly milder” compared to previous strains and that the UK was in a stronger position than before in the pandemic.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which govern their own COVID-19 rules, have all recently introduced some new measures.

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