One of first UK cases of new Omicron Covid variant found in Nottingham

There is a second case in Chelmsford, Essex

One of the UK’s first two cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has been detected in Nottingham.

The second of the two cases is in Chelmsford, Essex and the two cases are reported to be linked. The news comes after Germany, Czechia, and Belgium also reported infections.

Heath Secretary Sajid Javid has said that there will be targeted testing carried out in Nottingham, as well as in Chelmsford.

The variant, first recorded in Gauteng, South Africa, has a far larger number of mutations than the Delta variant that is currently widespread in the UK.

There are fears that the mutations may allow Omicron to spread quickly even among vaccinated populations, although little is known yet about the virulence or infectiousness of the variant compared to other strains of Covid-19.

Experts have said the variant is unlikely to lead to a “reboot” of the pandemic in the UK, but its effect remains to be seen.

Javid said: “Thanks to our world class genomic sequencing we have been made aware of two UK cases of the omicron variant. We have moved rapidly and the individuals are self-isolating while contact tracing is ongoing.

“We will do all we can to protect the UK public against this emerging threat and that is why we are surging testing capacity to the impacted communities and introducing travel restrictions on a further four countries: Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola. We will not hesitate to take further action if required.

“This is a stark reminder that we are not yet out of this pandemic. Getting the vaccine has never been more important – please come forward for your first jab if you haven’t already and if eligible, book your booster as soon as possible.”

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