The United Kingdom could reportedly enforce more stringent measures following the holiday season to help combat the further spread of Omicron cases in the country.
According to reports, the United Kingdom Health Security Agency announced on Sunday 86 new Omicron infections and a total of 246 cases since it was first reported last week.
Out of the 86 new cases, 18 infections were recorded in Scotland, making their total number of Omicron contaminations 48.
On Saturday, over 40,000 new COVID-19 cases that do not have the Omicron strain were recorded in the United Kingdom. And another 54 deaths within the past 28 days were also reported.
UK PM Boris Johnson urges locals to get inoculated
Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged locals to get vaccinated and those who are due to get their boosters to make sure to get it once the National Health Service (NHS) calls.
"Over 35 percent of the population 12+ have had their booster jab and we are ramping up capacity to offer everyone 18 and over a booster by the end of January. It's the best way to protect you and your family so please come forward when the NHS contacts you," Johnson said via Sky News.
Omicron emergence dubbed as wrong timing
The figures reported are causing concern among health officials in the United Kingdom. Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter also called the emergence of Omicron during the holiday season appalling because this is one of the high-risk periods in the country.
He added that it's unlikely for the British government to disrupt the holiday plans of Britons. But what happens after Christmas is an entirely different story.
Nigeria added to the UK's red list countries
According to Reuters, the United Kingdom also updated its red list countries, which now includes Nigeria.
All inbound travelers are required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test. This means that all inbound travelers must take either a PCR or a rapid test 48 hours before departure. The new measures will be reviewed on Dec. 20.
And those arriving from Nigeria need to quarantine in hotels. Last weekend, other South African countries were added to the United Kingdom's red list. This means that entry is only allowed for UK citizens and residents, but hotel quarantine is still mandatory.
But Professor Mark Woolhouse, a member of the Scientific Pandemia Influenza Group on Modelling, said that it seems too late to make a material difference to the course of the Omicron wave if the country is going to have one, according to WIO News.
Other countries across the globe are also dealing with an increasing number of Omicron cases.
United States reports multiple Omicron cases
Last week, the United States reported its first case of the Omicron variant in the country.
According to the New York Times, the variant was reported in at least 16 states last weekend. And the majority of the cases appeared to be people who traveled to South Africa in recent weeks.
However, previous reports also claimed that Omicron possibly started in the Netherlands, not South Africa. After all, the Netherlands' first Omicron case was reported six days before South Africa made an official announcement.