British Surge Seen As Warning On Omicron But Responses Vary

A woman wears a face mask as she walks in Covent Garden market, in London, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. The U.K. recorded the highest number of confirmed new COVID-19 infections Wednesday since the pandemic began, and England's chief medical officer warned the situation is likely to get worse as the omicron variant drives a new wave of illness during the Christmas holidays. The U.K. recorded 78,610 new infections on Wednesday, 16% higher than the previous record set in January. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

(AP) — Spiraling infections in Britain driven in part by the new omicron variant of the coronavirus rattled many in Europe, fueling a familiar dread that tighter restrictions will scuttle holiday plans again this year.

Much remains unknown about omicron, but it appears more transmissible than the delta variant. That was already putting pressure on hospitals from the United States to the Netherlands.

With so many questions outstanding, uncertainty reigned over how quickly and how severely to crack down. After the U.K. recorded its highest number of confirmed new COVID-19 infections, France tightened entry rules for those coming from Britain.

In England, the chief medical officer urged people to limit who they see. The White House insisted there was no need for a lockdown.


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