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Covid omicron news – live: UK cases of new variant double as Boris Johnson urged to advise working from home

Boris Johnson receives Covid booster vaccine at St Thomas' Hospital in London

Cases of omicron more than doubled in the UK on Friday, after a further 75 infections were detected in England, 16 in Scotland and the first in Wales.

As it stands, there remain no confirmed instances of the new Covid variant in Northern Ireland.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said a number of the cases detected have no links to travel, suggesting Britain now has “a small amount of community transmission”.

“Teams nationally and locally are working at pace to identify and trace all close contacts of every omicron case,” Dr Harries said in a statement last night. “It is critical that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms isolates and gets a PCR test immediately.”

Boris Johnson is being urged to bring back “work from home” guidance in order to curb omicron’s spread. The full official notes from the latest Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) meeting – published on Friday – show that the experts believe remote working is a “highly relevant” way to reduce transmission of the new variant.

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Bring back working from home to tackle omicron, PM warned

Boris Johnson’s government should consider bringing back “work from home” guidance in a bid to tackle the spread of the Covid omicron variant, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has recommended.

It comes as Prof Adam Finn, a member of the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), recommended the same thing, writes Adam Forrest.

“The more people can work from home now the better, until we are more definite about what’s going to happen,” Prof Finn told The Guardian.

The University of Bristol expert added: “We need to buy time. If in three weeks it’s died out, then fine, we can all relax, but right now is the time when you could prevent there being a big wave.”

‘The more people can work from home now the better’


Further 75 omicron cases found in England, bringing UK total to 150

A further 75 cases of the omicron variant of Covid-19 have been detected in England, the government has said.

The new infections join the previous 29 confirmed cases of the of the variant known by scientists as B.1.1.529, bringing the total number in England to 104. In total, the UK has found 150 cases of the variant.

People infected with the omicron variant in England have now been located in the east Midlands, the east of England, London, the northeast, the northwest, the southeast, the southwest and the west Midlands.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said targeted testing was being carried in locations where the positive cases were likely to be infectious.

Emily Atkinson has the full report:

The total number of omicron cases in England has reached 104


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