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Omicron variant to become ‘dominant strain’ says professor

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Community transmission means the new variant is spreading across “multiple regions of England”, Mr Javid confirmed. With a 50 percent increase since Sunday, the news signals a concerning new turn for the pandemic, and some experts fear it could soon become the dominant strain. So far, the cases have settled disproportionately in the south, breaking a pattern set by other variants.

Where is the Omicron variant in the UK?

Omicron entered the UK for the first time in late November, not long after South African scientists successfully sequenced it.

As of December 6, the Government has reported 336 cases, actos at picos ue split between England, Scotland and Wales.

England has reported the most with 261, followed by Scotland on 71 and Wales on four.

The December 6 caseload shared in a similar concentration, as England reported another 64 cases, Scotland 23 and Wales three.

For most, it will come as no surprise that England, as the most populous home nation, is leading in infections.

But unlike previous outbreaks, cases are heavily favouring southern regions.

The latest available regional breakdown shows central England, around the Oxford area, has the highest concentration.

London is included in that area, as is Northampton and Milton Keynes.

To the east, the Norfolk coastline has a similar presentation.

Further north, officials have discovered more cases in and around Liverpool and the Lancaster area.

Omicron breaks a pattern started by previous variants, Delta among them, of latching to the north first.

Delta has since progressed southwards, where it now causes the most infections.

While the UK has relatively few Omicron cases compared to its Delta share, experts fear far more loom under the radar.

They believe numbers are likely much higher due to the time it takes to identify new variants.

Labs need up to seven days to sequence infections, and even then not every location looks for Omicron hallmarks.

They will look for genomes without an “S-gene”, known as “S-gene dropout”.

A Government source recently pointed to data showing only 30 to 35 percent of PCR labs look for this feature.

Speaking to The Guardian, one member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said the system was “pretty leaky”.

Other experts have previously said Omicron could ultimately become prevalent in another “month or so”.

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