As daily cases reach 59,610, Covid deaths have increased by 150, and Boris warns of a 'huge spike.'

Today, another 150 Covid deaths have been added to the tragic toll of virus victims in the United Kingdom.

Another 59,610 new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours, the highest daily increase since January.

Boris Johnson warned his ministers earlier today that he believes the variant will cause a "huge spike" in cases across the country.

For the second day in a row, walk-in test slots were in short supply, and lateral flow kits were out of stock.

People have been urged to come forward as soon as possible to get their booster shots in order to avoid contracting the new variant.

"There has been a high demand for PCR test appointments, resulting in temporary reduced availability in some areas," the UK Health Security Agency said.

"Each afternoon, more appointments are made available, and PCR tests can be ordered for home delivery."

"In order to keep people safe and manage the virus, testing is critical."

"We appreciate everyone who is getting tested to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities, and we encourage anyone who needs a PCR test to come forward."

It comes after Cabinet ministers were warned that hospitals could be overrun with Omicron by the middle of January, forcing some to close.

The Sun understands that ministers were given a bombshell warning this morning that a large number of Britain's army of NHS doctors and nurses will be off sick by around January 15.

Even on "the most conservative" estimates, the PM and Government medics told virtual cabinet this morning that things are looking "very bad" when it comes to cases.

After the number of Omicron cases in the UK skyrocketed over the weekend, NHS England raised the alert level to the highest level.

After health chiefs indicated that the NHS was under significant strain, the decision to move from level 3 to level 4 was made on Sunday.

The alert was raised to level four, indicating that the rise in infections poses a serious risk of forcing the closure of other critical health services.

"The current observed doubling time is around every two days," Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs, adding that the growth of Omicron cases in the UK is "now mirroring the rapid increase we're seeing in South Africa."

"While we reported 4,713 confirmed Omicron cases in the UK yesterday, the UKHSA estimates that the number of daily infections is 42 times higher, at 200,000."

"Scientists have never seen a Covid-19 variant capable of spreading at such a rapid rate, so we need to figure out how to slow Omicron's spread."

Downing Street backed the UK Health Security Agency's estimate that around 200,000 cases of the rapidly spreading strain are already in circulation.

"We believe it is a valid figure," said the Prime Minister's official spokesman, "while acknowledging that it is an estimate and models have wide ranges."

"It gives us an idea of how fast Omicron transmits, and we expect it to become the dominant variant in London today."

The spokesman did not dismiss the possibility of a million Omicron infections per day by the middle of next week, instead saying, "Like I said, cases are increasing significantly."

Despite the figures, he insisted there are "no plans" to go beyond Plan B restrictions, which are expected to pass with Labour's support in Tuesday's Commons vote.

However, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged Scots to limit their mixing by only socializing with up to two other households indoors in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Prof Whitty's pessimistic assessment, delivered to the first Cabinet meeting held in person in months, will raise fears that additional measures will be required in England in the new year.

He told ministers that he can't say whether cases are plateauing in South Africa, where the strain was first discovered, and that there's "no reliable evidence" of a peak in case rates from the country's scientists.

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