UK Covid Alert Level increased from Level 3 to Level 4 as Omicron variant continues to spread
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In the light of the rapid increase in Omicron cases and following advice from UK Health Security Agency, the UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director have recommended to ,inisters that the UK Covid Alert Level should increase from Level 3 to Level 4.
A spokesperson for the UK Health Security Agency said in a statement on Sunday, December 12:“Transmission of Covid-19 is already high in the community, but the emergence of Omicron adds additional and rapidly increasing risk to the public and healthcare services.
“Early evidence shows that Omicron is spreading much faster than Delta and that vaccine protection against symptomatic disease from Omicron is reduced.
"Data on severity will become clearer over the coming weeks but hospitalisations from Omicron are already occurring and these are likely to increase rapidly.
“When vaccine protection is reduced in the way that is happening with Omicron it is essential to top up that protection with a booster.
"Both booster vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) increase the immune response substantially and show good effectiveness although with some reduction compared to Delta.
“The NHS is currently under pressure mainly driven by non-Covid pressures. With a variant spreading with increased transmissibility and reduced vaccine effectiveness, we are likely to see this pressure rise soon.
“It is extremely important that if you are eligible, you get your Covid vaccination now – whether this be your first, second or booster dose.
“People should continue take sensible precautions including ventilating rooms, using face coverings, testing regularly and isolating when symptomatic."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a televised address at 8pm on Sunday to confirm that the target for giving every adult in England a booster jab has been brought forward by a month from the end of January, to the ned of December.
Addressing the nation, Mr Johnson said: “Get boosted now to protect the NHS, our freedoms and our way of life.”
It was announced earlier on Sunday that the booster booking system would open to those aged between 30 and 39 on Monday, December 13.
Those aged 18 and over will be able to book their appointments from Wednesday, December 14, the PM confirmed.
A booster dose can be given three months after the second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.