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Father-of-eight, 41, fights for life in Covid coma while waiting for second jab

A father-of-eight is fighting for his life in a coma after catching Covid whilst he was waiting for his second vaccine. 

James Grayson, from Frimley, Surrey, tested positive for coronavirus on October 19 after he collapsed at home and was admitted to hospital.  

The 41-year-old, who was waiting to get his second jab when he caught the deadly virus, was placed in an induced coma by doctors after his health quickly deteriorated.

James Grayson, 41, from Frimley, Surrey, tested positive for coronavirus on October 19 after he collapsed at home and was admitted to hospital

James (left) is fighting for his life in a coma after catching Covid whilst he was waiting for his second vaccine. His wife Becky (right) says family are 'devestated'

His daughter Ebonnie, 21, said: 'We are all broken beyond words.' 

'He was really healthy, he would go to the gym all the time', she added. 

Speaking to The Mirror, she added: 'We'd never have thought something like this could have affected him so severely.' 

The carpenter and window fitter, who had no underlying health conditions, has suffered several complications including a collapsed lung, pneumonia, sepsis and a chest infection. 

James suffered a stroke on 29 October and his wife Becky, 40, has said his health is continuing to 'decline' but doctors are still fighting to keep him alive. 

Writing on Facebook, she said: 'Long story short. He isn’t doing well, he is unfortunately still declining.

'But they aren’t at the stage where they are going to give up on him.

'Watching him laid there struggling, my big strong beautiful husband was the absolute worst! I do not want it to get worse than this.'

James was transferred from his local hospital, Frimley Park in Surrey, to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London, where he has been placed on one of the UK's five an ECMO machine, which is a an artificial lung or heart.

Ebonnie added that the family set up a GoFundMe to adapt to their new way of living if James recovers.

Writing on the GoFundMe, she added: 'If my dad survives this his life will be very different. He will need adapted living and will find every day life very hard, his recovery will take years.

He was waiting to get his second jab when he caught the deadly virus, was placed in an induced coma by doctors after his health quickly deteriorated. His wife holds her husbands hand whilst he is Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London (pictured)

James (left) and his wife Becky (right) pictured on their wedding day 12 years ago

'The biggest sadness in all this is my dad has always been a very hard working family man, starting work as soon as he was old enough too - to support his family. He’s been an amazing father to us eight children!' 

This news comes as Omicron, designated a 'variant of concern' by the WHO, was found in Nottingham and Brentwood in Essex

Boris Johnson last night imposed isolation for all UK arrivals and mandatory masks in shops and on trains in a bid to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible new variant.  

At a hastily-arranged Downing Street press conference the prime minister painted a grim picture of the potential threat from the new 'super-mutant' strain - admitting he cannot guarantee Christmas will go ahead as hoped.  

What do we know about the Omicron variant? 

Scientists have said they are concerned about the B.1.1.529 variant, named by the World Health Organisation as Omicron, as it has around 30 different mutations - double the amount present in the Delta variant. The mutations contain features seen in all of the other variants but also traits that have not been seen before. 

UK scientists first became aware of the new strain on November 23 after samples were uploaded on to a coronavirus variant tracking website from South Africa, Hong Kong and then Botswana. 

On Friday, it was confirmed that cases had been identified in Israel and Belgium but currently there are no known cases in the UK.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told Good Morning Britain on Friday that sequencing is being carried out around the UK to determine if any cases have already been imported. 

Work is also under way to see whether the new variant may be causing new infection in people who have already had coronavirus or a vaccine, or whether waning immunity may be playing a role.  

Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxford, has said the new variant will 'almost certainly' make vaccines less effective, though they would still offer protection.

Pfizer/BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine against Covid-19, is already studying the new variant's ability to evade vaccines. 

Mr Johnson put unlocking in reverse as he extended travel bans, enforcing day-two PCR tests for arrivals in Britain, and making facemasks compulsory in shops and on trains.

He declared that all arrivals to the country must self-isolate until they get a negative result from a gold-standard test - which can identify those carrying Omicron. 

All contacts of people infected with the variant must stay at home for 10 days.       

Flanked by medical and science chiefs Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, Mr Johnson also announced that facemasks on public transport and shops will be compulsory - although struggling bars and restaurants will be spared for now.

But extraordinarily despite the alarm at the new peril the government has yet to work out when most of the new restrictions will come into force.

Mr Javid is expected to clarify the timeline over the next couple of days, with No10 suggesting they will be introduced 'next week'.  

Earlier, Mr Javid said that two cases of the strain were detected in Nottingham and Brentwood in Essex. Both are linked to travel to southern Africa, the suspected origin of the mutation. 

The infected individuals and all members of their households have been told to self-isolate after the UK Health Security Agency confirmed the sequencing.

It marks the first time since last winter that restrictions have been tightened in England - although Scotland and Wales have previously responded to spiking infection rates.

The premier said the measures will be reviewed in three weeks, and in the meantime the booster jab campaign will be ramped up. 

The Welsh Government and the Scottish government are mirroring the restrictions on international travel, and warning they could go even further. 

The changes do not quite go as far as the formal 'Plan B' outlined by the government in the summer, as Mr Johnson stopped short of bringing back orders to work from home where possible and introducing vaccine passports. 

But the PM refused to rule out a Christmas lockdown when pressed by reporters, warning that Omicron 'diverges quite significantly' from other Covid variants and that it will 'reduce the protections of our vaccines over time'. 

He was only willing to provide a lukewarm commitment that the festive season will be 'better' than last year's.

Sir Patrick also warned that the UK may need to 'face up' to the possibility of further restrictions if the Omicron variant is very transmissible. 

Graphs shown at a Downing Street press conference on Saturday showed the number of people who have been jabbed

And Prof Whitty said the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will now need to decide whether to extend the booster vaccine down to adults age 18, and whether a second dose should be offered to children aged 12-15 who decided with their families to get the first dose of the vaccine.

Another 39,567 Covid cases were recorded in the UK today – down 3.36 per cent from 40,941 posted last Saturday – while the number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid fell by 12.7 per cent from 150 last week to 131. 

The EU, US and Canada all followed Britain's move to impose travel restrictions on visitors from southern Africa ahead of the WHO adding the strain, also known as B.1.1.529, to its highest category for concerning variants. 

Britain's first two Omicron infections came as a spate of cases were found across Europe, with at least 61 new cases of Covid entering the Netherlands from South Africa this morning. Authorities are currently sequencing the tests for the new variant.

Another 39,567 Covid cases were recorded in the UK today – down 3.36 per cent from 40,941 posted last Saturday – while the number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid fell by 12.7 per cent from 150 last week to 131

Europe's first case of the variant was spotted in Belgium yesterday – despite the unvaccinated woman who caught it having travelled to Turkey and Egypt. Germany and the Czech Republic both confirmed suspected cases today. 

Germany's initial sequencing suggests a traveller from South Africa was carrying the virus with several mutations shared by Omicron. Officials are awaiting full sequencing later today. Australian authorities – who also banned travel to nine countries in the region – fear the variant may have already entered the country. 

The US' chief medical officer Dr Anthony Fauci said he would 'not be surprised' if the Omicron Covid variant was already in America. His comments came as President Joe Biden was slammed for still allowing flights from South Africa to land in the US before the start of a travel ban on Monday.