The World Health Organization (WHO) special envoy on Covid has warned that what the UK is seeing with Omicron “today is just the beginning of an extraordinary acceleration.”
Dr David Nabarro warned that he has “never been more concerned” by the pandemic than he is now and that Omicron present an “emergency situation” for the NHS and health services across the world.
He said, “I have been watching this pandemic and working on it since January 2020 and I have never been more concerned… not just about the UK, but about the world.”
Dr Nabarro added, “The rise that you’re seeing in the UK today is just the beginning of an extraordinary acceleration.”
Dr Nabarro told Sky News id doesn’t matter if Omicron is more mild than other strains of Covid, it will infect multiples more people and there are fears that more than 1m people could be infected every day within weeks.
“Even if Omicron is several times less unpleasant than Delta, I want to stress the absolute number of people who are going to get infected, some of whom will be people who have had double vaccination,” he said.
“This absolute number is going to lead to an already massively stressed health system and health workforce being further overloaded and so it really is important that every single human being does everything they can to protect health services by minimising social contact and by doing everything possible to prevent transmission of this virus.”
On Wednesday the UK recorded the highest ever number of cases since the start of the pandemic, as there were 78,610 cases Dr Nabarro branded the UK’s situation “very serious indeed.”
“There are two epidemics going on; Delta and Omicron. And it is an emergency situation for the British health service,” he said.
“It will get extremely serious within the next two weeks, perhaps quicker.”
He warned the spread of the Omicron was “serious in the UK, it’s serious in Europe, and it’s serious for the world.”
On Wednesday Professor Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer urged the public to cut back on socialising this Christmas and then warned that “records will be broken a lot over the next few weeks.”