A confirmed case of the Omicron variant is in West Oxfordshire and two people from Oxford University have tested positive for the variant.

However, an Oxfordshire GP says we still should not worry about the variant.

Extensive surveillance of Covid-19 by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has identified a small number of cases of the Omicron variant in localities across England, including one confirmed and two highly probable cases in Oxfordshire.

One confirmed case of the variant has been found in West Oxfordshire.

In addition, two highly probably cases have been found in Oxford: both are members of Oxford University and their cases are linked.

The total number of confirmed cases in England is now 29.

The Government said it has now identified cases in the East Midlands, East of England, London, South East and North West.

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Wheatley GP Dr Anthony Harnden is a member of the Governments vaccine advisory group and told BBC Radio Oxford, we should not worry about Omicron yet and wait for the expert verdict.

He said: “At the moment we just want to concentrate on collecting the data getting people boosted as quickly as we can do through age order, and then relying on genomic sequencing to decide how we move forward.”

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, has called for "everyone to play their part" and urges people to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

He said: “Robust contact tracing has taken place following the identification of three cases in the county. We have taken swift action so that we can understand if the new variant has spread and break the chain of transmission as quickly as possible. I’d like to thank our partners at the UKHSA and the University for all their help.

“While this work takes place, it is important that everyone continues to take sensible precautions: get a PCR test if you have symptoms, self-isolate when asked, wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, ventilate rooms, and get your vaccine and booster as soon as you can."

Read also: Calls for NHS staff to get vaccine after fears of impact of mandatory Covid jabs

Mr Azhar added getting vaccinated is the best way to reduce chances of become severely ill with Covid-19.

He said: “I would also like to remind people that if you come into contact with someone who has the Omicron variant, you must isolate for ten days - regardless of your vaccination status.”

Oxford University has already put extra health measures in place in response to the government's recent restrictions related to the new variant. This includes staff and students wearing face coverings and taking two lateral flow tests before leaving Oxford for the Christmas vacation, and to self-isolate if they test positive.

 

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