Eight more cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been detected in England, the UK Health Security Agency said. These are in addition to the previous five confirmed cases of the Sars-CoV-2 variant also known as B.1.1.529. The total number of confirmed cases in England is now 13.
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The new cases include six in London – one each in Haringey, Sutton, Camden, and Westminster, and two in Barnet – and one in Liverpool, and one in north Norfolk.
Nine cases have also been identified in Scotland, with five cases in the Lanarkshire area and four in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, bringing the UK total to 22.
The individuals who have tested positive, and their contacts, are all isolating, health officials said. Work is under way to identify any links to travel to southern Africa.
The health agency has now identified cases in the east Midlands, east of England, London, and the north-west and is carrying out targeted testing at locations where the positive cases were likely to be infectious.
Dr Jenny Harries, the agency’s chief executive, said: “It is very likely that we will find more cases over the coming days as we are seeing in other countries globally and as we increase case detection through focused contact tracing. That’s why it’s critical that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms isolates and gets a PCR test immediately.”