- Sputnik International, 1920
Omicron COVID Strain
The new COVID variant was initially detected in South Africa and Botswana and sparked major concerns due to its high number of mutations (32). The WHO dubbed the strain Omicron and warned it may prove to be more transmissible and dangerous than other coronavirus variants.

London Mayor Khan Says More COVID-19 Restrictions 'Inevitable'

© TOLGA AKMENPedestrians, some wearing face coverings to combat the spread of Covid-19, walk past a sign asking commuters to "Wear a face covering", at Liverpool Street train station in central London on December 18, 2021.
Pedestrians, some wearing face coverings to combat the spread of Covid-19, walk past a sign asking commuters to Wear a face covering, at Liverpool Street train station in central London on December 18, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.12.2021
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Earlier this week, Khan declared a "major incident" to help the city's overwhelmed hospitals amid a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.
On Sunday, London mayor Sadiq Khan argued that he believes that new restrictions over the COVID-19 pandemic are 'inevitable'.
The statement comes amid the surge of coronavirus cases in the UK, with the latest numbers showing that over 90, 000 cases were registered.
"If we don't bring in new restrictions sooner rather than later you're going to see even more positive cases and potentially public services like the NHS on the verge of collapse, if not collapsing," Khan said.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told Sky News that unvaccinated people should "think about the damage they are doing to society".
"They must really think about the damage they are doing to society... they take up hospital beds that could have been used for someone with maybe a heart problem, or maybe someone who is waiting for elective surgery...But instead of protecting themselves and protecting the community, they choose not to get vaccinated. They are really having a damaging impact and I just can't stress enough, please do come forward and get vaccinated," Javid said.
He stressed that staff shortages in health service is a big challenge now. The minister also added that 10% of the population - more than five million people - still have not been vaccinated.
Earlier in the day, the Guardian reported, citing the UK government’s leading scientists that unless tougher restrictions are immediately imposed to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, the daily number of infections could reach between 600,000 and two million by the end of December.
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