Daily UK Covid cases fall for second day as 179,756 new infections recorded

THE UK's daily Covid cases have fallen for the second day in a row as 179,756 new infections were logged today.

While the figures are still high the drop is a promising sign – especially after record numbers of over 200,000 earlier in the week.

A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron is milder than other strains, with the risk of hospitalisation 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta for the vaccinated.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

Another 231 people sadly lost their lives while battling the virus in the past 24 hours

Dr Claire Steves, a reader at King's College London working with the ZOE Covid Study App, said: "Omicron seems to be more successful at infecting those who have had previous vaccines but thankfully not necessarily leading to hospitalisation.

"So if you've only had two doses of vaccine so far and are eligible for a third dose, please do book it now."

New data from London showed a drop in cases, after the Omicron outbreak exploded in the capital before Christmas.

Dr Steves said: "We can see that cases have really been coming down in the past week despite New Year celebrations, and now hospitalisation rates look like they might be stabilising, for now at least.

"London seems to be reflecting the South Africa data, going up steeply and dropping sharply."

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It comes as the PM today lashed out at the "tragedy" of "mumbo jumbo" anti-vaxxers spouting "nonsense" online – as he warned the NHS is under "huge" pressure.

Boris Johnson insisted ministers were doing everything possible to make sure that the people most likely to get ill are getting vaccinated, as he again urged everyone to come forward and get jabbed now.

He stressed Britain would "get through this wave" but warned "the pressure on hospital is clear – we've got to give the health service all the help we can through the next period".

While infections hit 194,000 yesterday, ministers are encouraged by growing evidence that Omicron is far milder than previous strains.

They are also throwing the kitchen sink at the booster programme, which The Sun's Jab's Army campaign is helping to turbo-charge.

Thanks to the booster rollout, the PM said the country will be in a stronger position to fight Omicron when Plan B measures expire in three weeks.

In major developments:

  • The PM visited a vaccination centre as he urged people to get boosted
  • Pre-departure and PCR tests for travel were axed in a boost for holidays
  • Grant Shapps said ALL travel tests could soon be scrapped in a win for holidaymakers

Dr Steves expert urged caution over the next few weeks, warning the NHS is "already under immense pressure" with the rest of the month set to be a "trial".

A number of trusts have declared "critical incidents" amid staff shortages and beds filling up.

Dr Steves said while case numbers are starting to slow in positive signs, the return of kids to schools could see it rise again.

But if everyone eligible has their boosters, wears masks, takes tests and notes any new symptoms it will be a huge help to stem the spread, she added.

The ZOE study revealed the 20 most common Omicron symptoms to look out for today.

The most reported symptoms of the mutant variant come from Brits who have been struck with the bug.

They logged what they were experiencing on the ZOE Covid Study – with the top five remaining as runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and a sore throat.

But other symptoms in the top 20 includes hoarse voice, chills or shivers, brain fog, feeling dizzy, skipped meals and feeling down.

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