Mayor of London Declares 'Major Incident' Over Surge in COVID Cases
15:24 GMT 18.12.2021 (Updated: 21:39 GMT 18.10.2022)
It is estimated that the Omicron strain accounts for over 80 percent of new coronavirus cases in the British capital.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has declared a "major incident" to help the city's overwhelmed hospitals amid a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.
"This is a statement of how serious things are," the mayor said, as quoted by Reuters.
The UK Health Security Agency said on Saturday that the number of confirmed Omicron variant COVID-19 cases stood at 24,968 as of 17 December, up by more than 10,000 cases from 24 hours earlier.
A major incident is usually declared when a situation or an event has had serious consequences and requires special arrangements to be enforced by authorities.
15 December 2021, 12:30 GMT
Although UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday "we are not closing things down," health officials are reportedly preparing draft new rules that – in case they are introduced – will ban indoor mixing in England except for work for two weeks after Christmas.