UK sets new record for COVID cases

Britain reported another day of record COVID-19 cases on Friday, with new government estimates showing that 1 in 10 people in London could be carrying the virus as of this week.

Models from the UK's Office for National Statistics showed on Friday that around 1 in 20 Londoners likely had COVID-19 on Dec. 16 and early estimates - which could yet be revised - suggest this may have risen to 1 in 10.

The estimates underline the relentless advance of the Omicron variant, which has driven a surge in cases over the last seven days, especially in the capital.

Many industries and transport networks are struggling with staff shortages as sick workers self-isolate, while hospitals in Britain have warned of the risk of an impact on patient safety.

Government data showed over 122,186 new cases on Friday, marking a third day of cases in excess of 100,000.

While recent research on Omicron suggests it has a lower rate of hospitalization than previous variants of COVID-19 including Delta, health officials have maintained a cautious note about the outlook as the higher transmissibility of Omicron could still lead to significant numbers needing hospital treatment.

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