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Britain reports highest COVID deaths since last February as virus surges across Europe

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A health worker closes the door of an ambulance outside the Royal London Hospital, amid the COVID-19 pandemic in London, Britain, on January 7, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

Britain has recorded 438 new deaths from COVID-19, the highest daily toll since last February, as the coronavirus' Omicron variant spreads fast across Europe.

Tuesday saw a further 94,432 infections recorded across the UK. On Monday, the UK had reported 84,249 COVID cases and 85 deaths.

The surge comes as the country considers relaxing measures introduced to reduce the spread of the fast-moving Omicron variant.

Health Minister Sajid Javid earlier told British lawmakers he was optimistic that COVID-19 measures introduced to reduce the spread of Omicron would be scaled back next week.

The government is considering phasing out remaining pandemic restrictions, including working from home guidance and the use of vaccine passports.

Britain has reported 152,513 deaths from COVID-19 in total, the seventh highest death toll in the world, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson coming under intense pressure over the handling of the pandemic.

The developments also come as opposition parties are upping pressure on Johnson to quit over the Downing Street parties scandal. Others are stepping up pressure on colleagues to submit letters of no confidence in the prime minister.

Italy reports 434 COVID deaths

Italy reported 228,179 COVID-19-related cases on Tuesday, the Health Ministry said, while the number of deaths rose to 434.

The country has registered 141,825 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February 2020.

The Southern European country has the second-highest toll in the continent after Britain and the ninth-highest in the world. The country has reported 9.02 million cases to date.

Czech Republic sees biggest daily jump in COVID cases

According to the Health Ministry of the Czech Republic, the country recorded on Tuesday more than 20,000 new cases of COVID-19, the biggest single-day rise since Dec. 1. The ministry also on Monday recorded 20,270 new coronavirus infections, up from 7,342 a week earlier.

The central European country is bracing for a new wave of the pandemic as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus begins pushing up cases.

Last week, the World Health Organization warned that over half of the people in Europe were on track to contracting the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the next two months. The new variant has so far been detected in 89 countries, and the cases of infections caused by Omicron are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days in places with community transmission.

The resurgent variant has forced Europe to reimpose tougher measures such as mandatory vaccinations and lockdowns.


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