Omicron cases double in Wales and are now present in every health board area
Known Omicron cases have doubled in Wales and are now present in every health board area, Public Health Wales have said.
Dr Meng Khaw, National Director for Health Protection and Screening Services for Public Health Wales, said they could confirm 15 new cases of Omicron variant in Wales.
“This brings us to a total of 30 cases, of which three are linked to international travel,” he said. “There are now Omicron cases in every health board area in Wales.
“In total, there are now four cases are in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, five are in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area, four in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board area, and 14 in the Cardiff & Vale University Health Board area. There is one case each in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area, the Powys Teaching Health Board area, and the Swansea Bay University Health Board area.
“As we have said previously, an increase in cases of Omicron variant in Wales is to be expected.”
Wales’ Chief Medical Officer Dr Frank Atherton said this morning that he had previously thought that Omicron was a problem for January but he now expected a rising tide of infections sooner as Omicron spread in the community over Christmas.
He added that it was almost inevitable that some new restrictions would be introduced but that a national lockdown was not expected.
“It will almost inevitably lead to more people in hospital and we are starting to see that across the UK, and here in Wales,” he said.
“I’m very worried about what is going to happen over the next two or three weeks. For the simple reason that the doubling time of the infection in the UK seems to be about two days – if we’re lucky.
“And that rapidly leads us into huge waves of community transmission.” He said that would transform into hospital admissions two weeks later, and two weeks after that into deaths.
“When I first heard about Omicron I thought it would be a problem for January or February. With these doubling rates and the likely transmission in communities, we’re far more likely to see a problem running into the Christmas period and then into January.
“So that’s what has led us needing to raise the alert level.”