Growth in Covid hospitalisations in London SLOWS ahead of New Year

Omicron hotspot London sees growth in Covid hospitalisations SLOW fuelling hopes the wave may be peaking in the capital a few weeks after starting – like it did in South Africa

  • London hospital admissions for Covid slowed just before New Year, figures show
  • Hopes growing that the UK may escape further restrictions despite record cases
  • Chancellor of Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay urged public to get booster jabs 

The growth in Covid hospitalisations in London slowed in the run-up to New Year, new figures have revealed today – fuelling hopes that the Omicron outbreak in the capital may be reaching its peak.

There were 319 patients admitted to hospital in London on December 31, a 14 per  cent rise on the same day a week before, and 450 on 30 December which is a 15 per cent rise week-on-week.

While a holiday effect may be artificially keeping those numbers low, the rate of increase is well behind the days before that saw a 32% increase on December 29 to 511 admissions.

Case numbers in the capital have also been rising at a slower rate, although pressure on testing capacity has tempered hopes that the capital’s Omicron Covid infections could be peaking relatively quickly.

South Africa’s Omicron outbreak saw cases rise at the highest rate ever before peaking within three weeks and then falling, which scientists believe may have been cause by the variant having a shorter generation time in infected people.

London’s Omicorn outbreak started ahead of the rest of the UK where Covid cases are still rising rapidly.

The mutations of the Omicron variant make it much more infectious than previous Covid variants and scientists have warned that the rapid peak and decline in South Africa may not be replicated in the UK

319 patients were admitted to hospital in London on December 31, a 14 per cent rise on the same day a week before

Mutations of the Omicron variant make it much more infectious than previous Covid variants

But added to evidence that Omicron causes milder disease, hopes are growing that the UK may escape further restrictions despite record case numbers. 

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Steve Barclay said yesterday: ‘As people return to work following the Christmas break, the high transmissibility levels of Omicron mean business and public services will face disruption in the coming weeks, particularly from higher than normal staff absence. 

‘We have been working through the Christmas period to prepare where possible for this, with all departments liaising closely with public and private sector leaders who are best placed to operationally manage their workforces. 

‘The best way to combat Omicron is to get boosted and I encourage anyone who is eligible to get boosted now.’

While Britain’s Covid-19 infections increased by almost 15 per cent in the space of a week, the number of deaths decreased by 23 per cent.

Department of Health data has revealed a further 137,583 Covid cases in its daily update which marks an increase of 17,660 on the figures given for Boxing Day, while figures on New Year’s Day showed a 33.4 per cent week-on-week increase in new cases.

Ministers fear there will be a massive increase in Omicron cases when children return to the classroom this week 

This is the twelfth day in a row that cases have been above the 100,000 mark as the country moves out of the festive season, while in recent days the week-on-week increase in new cases has been as high as 72.5 per cent on December 29.

Less than half of the NHS staff off sick on New Year’s Eve had coronavirus, official figures reveal.

Fewer than 50,000 of the 110,000 not in work on the day had the virus, the NHS dashboard shows.

The total figure meant one in 10 of the health service’s employees – which amounts to some 983,000 people – were not in hospitals due to illness.

Compared to pre-pandemic levels, it showed a five percentage point rise in the number of people off sick over the period.

The figure was also higher than those off over Boxing Day, when fewer than 25,000 were out of work due to the virus.

The NHS has not revealed what those not suffering from coronavirus were ill with on New Year’s Eve and Boxing Day.

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