Another 101 cases of the Omicron COVID strain have been recorded in the UK, bringing the total to 437 across the UK.
This compares to 90 new cases reported on Monday.
According to the latest daily data from the UK Health Security Agency, there are 72 cases in England, 28 cases in Scotland and 1 case in Wales.
So far, no confirmed cases of omicrons have been recorded in Northern Ireland.
Real-time COVID-19 updates in the UK and around the world
This comes after a total of 45,691 new COVID cases were reported in the UK in the last 24 hours.
In the 28 days after testing positive for COVID-19, 180 more people have died.
There are currently 7,317 coronavirus patients in the UK, of whom 901 are in ventilated beds.
According to the latest government data, 19,979 people received a booster dose in the last 24 hours, 25,012 people received a second dose, and an additional 329,165 people received a booster or third dose.
Omicron ‘more contagious’
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said early signs showed that Omicron is more contagious than the Delta variant.
As he updated his ministers on the COVID-19 situation at the ministerial meeting, he said:
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office explained the meeting, saying: “It is too early for the Prime Minister to draw any conclusions about the nature of Omicron, but there were early signs that it was more contagious than Delta.”
Downing Street also warned that it is still unclear how the vaccine will affect the new strain.
The warning comes after Health Minister Sajid Javid told MPs that Omicron cases were confirmed in people with no travel history.
‘1000 microns per day in the UK’
A prominent scientist on Monday told Sky News that the omicron variant is already causing up to 1,000 infections a day in the UK.
Professor Francois Balloux, director of the Institute of Genetics at University College London, said the outbreak is now going well and is doubling every three to four days.
Meanwhile, British pharmaceutical company GSK announced that an antibody-based COVID-19 treatment developed together with its US partner Vir Biotechnology is effective against all mutations of the Omicron mutation.
According to unpublished data, the company’s treatment, sotrovirab, is effective against all 37 mutations identified in the spike protein to date, GSK said.
Another preclinical data showed that the drug was effective against a major mutation in the Omicron strain.
Last week it was approved for use in the UK by the Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).
Additionally, pre-departure COVID tests for people arriving in the UK on Tuesday were re-introduced, and travelers must also undergo a two-day PCR test upon arrival and quarantine until they test negative.
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