- Minsters have been warned there could be a million daily infections by January, equivalent of one in 66 a day
- Astronomical case rates could spark staff shortages in pubs, restaurants and shops and create Pingdemic 2.0
- It came as Government reported 59,610 overall coronavirus cases in past 24 hours, the most since January 9
Fears that Britain could be plunged into a de facto January lockdown were raised today because so many Britons will be catching Omicron and forced off work.
Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said it was ‘valid’ to assume the UK could face a million daily cases of the super-mutant strain by next month, the equivalent of one in every 66 Britons catching the disease each day.
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty is said to have warned Cabinet that such astronomical infection rates will spark staff shortages in pubs, restaurants and shops during a stark update on the Covid situation this afternoon.
There are now concerns of a repeat of the ‘Pingdemic’ that shut down swathes of the economy over summer, only on a much wider scale because of how infectious the new strain is compared to Delta.
Professor Whitty also warned that the UK was braced for a ‘significant increase in hospitalisations’. NHS bosses have ordered hospitals to discharge as many patients as possible off wards and into care homes and even hotels to handle the predicted Omicron surge.