New Omicron variant has ‘topped out’ in Scotland, says Chris Whitty

Professor Sir Chris Whitty said he expects the BA.2 variant to reappear over autumn and winter.

PA Media

The new Omicron variant has “topped out” in Scotland – but is still predicted to have a “significant wave” in England, according to Professor Sir Chris Whitty.

England’s chief medical officer said he expects the BA.2 variant to reappear over autumn and winter unless a new Covid variant takes its place.

Speaking at the Science of Covid conference, hosted by the Royal Society, he said: “Now we’re definitely not out of the woods.

“Even without a new variant we’re going to see quite a significant wave of BA.2, which I don’t think has topped out in England yet, it probably has in Scotland.

“But I’m sure it’ll run again, particularly when we get to autumn/winter, unless something else has come along.

“There will be multiple new variants and we may well get ones that are significantly vaccine-escaping, in which case, we’re in a very different place.”

According to the latest figures, 2344 people were in hospital with Covid in Scotland on Tuesday – down from 2383 the previous day.

Daily figures published on Wednesday by the Scottish Government also show a further 9610 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the past 24 hours, as well as 34 deaths.

This takes the total number of people who died within 28 days of contracting coronavirus in Scotland to 11,393.

Government figures show cases have been decreasing in the nation slowly over the last few weeks after more than 15,000 positive tests were reported on March 14.

Meanwhile, cases in England nearly reached a record high on Friday, with around one in 16 people in private households in England – or 3.5 million people – likely to have had Covid-19 in the week to March 19.

This is up from one in 20, or 2.7 million people, in the previous week and is the third week in a row that infections are estimated to have risen.

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