One person in the UK has died with the Omicron variant of coronavirus, the prime minister has said.
Boris Johnson said the new variant was also resulting in hospital admissions and the “best thing” people could do was get their booster jab.
Visiting a vaccination clinic in London, he said people should set aside the idea Omicron was a milder variant.
On Sunday, the PM set new target for all adults in England to be offered a booster by the end of the month.
Speaking during a visit near Paddington, west London, Mr Johnson said: “Sadly yes, Omicron is producing hospitalisations and sadly at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron.
“So, I think the idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus, I think that’s something we need to set on one side and just recognise the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population.”
On Monday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said 10 people were in hospital in England with the Omicron variant and estimated there were about 3,000 Omicron cases across the UK as he urged the public to get a third shot of a vaccine.
Omicron accounts for four in 10 Covid-19 infections in London, he added.
Javid said 10 people with Omicron were in hospital in England
On the spread of Omicron, he said “we haven’t seen anything like this before”, with a million cases expected by the end of December.
“Already in London it’s gone from, in three weeks, almost nothing in terms of Covid infections to 40 per cent of all infections,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.