Boris Johnson has said that at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
Speaking during a visit on Monday to a vaccination clinic near Paddington, west London, the prime minister said: “Sadly, yes, Omicron is producing hospitalisations and, sadly, at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron.
“So I think the idea that this is somehow a milder version of the virus, I think that’s something we need to set on one side and just recognise the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population. So the best thing we can do is all get our boosters.”
Earlier on Monday, health secretary Sajid Javid had said there were “about 10” people with Omicron in hospital in England.
He told Sky News: “There is always a lag between infection and then hospitalisation and then, sadly, death.”
Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: “The awful news of the UK’s first Omicron death underlines the seriousness of the situation and my heart goes out to their family and friends.
“This is why the booster rollout is so vital and public health measures are necessary to reduce its spread.”
On Sunday, Johnson announced an acceleration of the booster programme, making it open to all adults, as the government aims to give third jabs to one million people a day.