A MAJOR incident has been declared in London by Sadiq Kahn due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
The move came as the capital's mayor became "incredibly concerned" about the surge in hospital admissions over the last 24 hours.
What is a major incident?
A major incident is an emergency situation in which special arrangements must be implemented by at least one of the emergency services, the NHS and the local authority, and involves large numbers of people.
City Hall defines it as as being “beyond the scope of business-as-usual operations, and is likely to involve serious harm, damage, disruption or risk to human life or welfare, essential services, the environment or national security”.
City Hall adds: “The severity of the consequences associated with a major incident are likely to constrain or complicate the ability of responders to resource and manage the incident.”
The government website states that each local council has an emergency plan covering major incidents like flooding, flu pandemics and transport accidents.
You can enter your postcode and be redirected to your council's page.
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Why has London declared a major incident?
Sadiq Khan made the decision after what he called a “huge surge” in Omicron cases and a rise in hospital admissions across the capital.
The number of Covid cases in London has soared over the last seven days, with 65,525 confirmed infections.
In the last 24 hours alone, 26,418 cases have been reported.
Mr Khan said: "The surge in cases of the Omicron variant across our capital is hugely concerning, so we are once again declaring a major incident because of the threat of Covid-19 to our city.
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“The Omicron variant has quickly become dominant with cases increasing rapidly and the number of patients in our hospitals with Covid-19 on the rise again.
"We are already feeling the impact across the capital and while we are still learning about this variant, it’s right that London’s key agencies work closely together to minimise the impact on our city, including helping to protect the vital vaccination programme."
No new measures have so far been introduced.
Khan has urged Londoners to get jabbed if they haven't already.
"We know that the vaccine offer our best defence against the virus,” he said.
“There are now more clinics in London delivering vaccines than at any point during the pandemic.
"I urge all Londoners to book their appointment or to go to one of the many walk-in centres across the capital as soon as you can."
Cases of Covid reached their highest daily total for a second day in a row on December 17, with another 93,000 infections reported.
And the UK'S daily Omicron cases have trebled in the last 24 hours with cases rising by more than 10,000.
Meanwhile, the number of Brits receiving boosters has DOUBLED in a week amid the spread of the variant.
More than 800,000 people were jabbed on Friday alone – compared to just over 400,000 the previous week.
What does a major incident mean for the NHS?
Major incidents require a special response from the emergency services, and often involves more than one agency implementing emergency arrangements.
In reality, this means resources will be redeployed and the government could be asked to step in and help.
It means services can't operate as normal and are placed in an emergency situation.
In order to curb infections and save Christmas, Brits have been urged to come forward and get their booster jabs either by booking on the NHS portal or by going to a walk-in centres.
The Sun is also urging readers to sign up to the Jabs Army campaign to make the rollout as smooth and fast as possible.
Mr Khan declared a major incident in the capital earlier this year on January 8 amid a rise in cases – but it was stood down on February 26 as numbers fell.
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