Welsh Government confirms Omicron has now replaced Delta as dominant Covid variant in Wales
Omicron has now overtaken Delta as the dominant variant in Wales, according to the Welsh government.
Cases of the variant, which is believed to be more transmissible than Delta, have rapidly increased in recent weeks – leading the Welsh government to reintroduce alert level two measures.
Wales’ deputy chief medical officer Dr Chris Jones has urged everyone to “take steps to protect themselves from Covid-19” as case rates surge to their highest levels in the pandemic.
Speaking to BBC Radio Wales on Wednesday Dr Jones said: “Omicron has been increasing in Wales with a doubling time of less than three days.”
“During the last two to three weeks it has gradually replaced Delta and is now the dominant variant, and because of that I expect we will see a further acceleration as Omicron continues its exponential growth.”
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Public Health Wales has confirmed a further 5,680 new cases of Omicron in Wales yesterday, taking the total to 7,369.
Dr Meng Khaw, National Director for Health Protection and Screening Services for Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales is today (Wednesday 29 December) confirming 5,680 new cases of Omicron variant in Wales, bringing us to a total of 7,369 cases.
“The Welsh government has confirmed, Omicron has now replaced Delta as the dominant Coronavirus variant in Wales.
“The single best thing you can do to protect yourself, your community and the NHS against the Omicron variant is to take up the offer of a vaccine.
“You can also protect yourself by adhering to Welsh government guidance, including limiting your contacts, wearing a face covering where appropriate, and doing a lateral flow test before seeing others. If you have symptoms, self-isolate and book a PCR test.”
According to UK scientist Sir John Bell, a regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and the UK government’s life sciences adviser, Omicron ‘appears less severe’ than the Delta variant.
He said that although hospital admissions had increased in recent weeks as Omicron spreads through the population, the disease “appears to be less severe and many people spend a relatively short time in hospital”.
Fewer patients were needing high-flow oxygen and the average length of stay was down to three days, he said.
More than 360,000 booster jabs have been administered in North Wales to date, providing extra protection for 72 per cent of the eligible population.
However there are still around 100,000 – mostly younger people – in the region who have yet to have their third vaccine.
The breakdown of Omicron cases by health board area is as follows:
|Health Board||Total cases|
|Cardiff and Vale University Health Board||2,305 (+1,905)|
|Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board||1,184 (+815)|
|Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board||936 (+637)|
|Aneurin Bevan University Health Board||1,231 (+1,027)|
|Swansea Bay University Health Board||618 (+340)|
|Hywel Dda University Health Board||859 (+770)|
|Powys Teaching Health Board||233 (+184)|
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