‘Fifty per cent of Europeans will be infected with Omicron in the next six to eight weeks’: WHO warns as 93 per cent of Eastbourne cases are Omicron

More than half of Europe’s population will catch Omicron in the next six to eight weeks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

New research has shown Omicron has become the dominant strain of Covid-19, including in Eastbourne where more than 90 per cent of cases were due to the variant.

Dr Hans Henri Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, said the highly contagious variant had become ‘a new west-to-east tidal wave sweeping across the region, on top of the Delta surge that all countries were managing until late 2021’.

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Omicron has now pushed Delta entirely out of many parts of England, according to new research.

New research has shown Omicron has become the dominant strain of Covid-19, including in Eastbourne where more than 90 per cent of cases were due to the variant. SUS-221101-170727001

The Wellcome Sanger Institute analysed more than 34,000 positive Covid-19 tests taken in the week to January 1 to determine which variant they were.

In more than 30 local authority areas, Omicron was the only variant found.

In Eastbourne, 93.1 per cent of cases analysed were the Omicron variant. 58 positive Covid-19 cases were analysed with 54 of those being the Omicron variant.

The number of Delta samples found across England has fallen dramatically in recent weeks – suggesting that Omicron cases are replacing rather than adding to those caused by Delta.

But there are also pockets of the country where Delta remains a significant minority of cases.

Dr Kluge added, “It is quickly becoming the dominant virus in Western Europe and it is now spreading into the Balkans.

“At this rate, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecasts that more than 50 per cent of the population in the region will be infected with Omicron in the next six to eight weeks.

“But death rates remain stable and continue to be highest in countries with high Covid-19 incidence combined with lower vaccination uptake.”