LONDON (Reuters) – Scientific advisors to Britain’s government said it was “almost certain” that hundreds of thousands of people were being infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant every day and hospital admissions were likely to surge.

“Currently observed numbers of Omicron infections admitted to hospital in the UK are probably around one tenth of the true number because the data lags of hospital reporting,” the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said in minutes of a meeting on Dec. 16.

Data published on Saturday showed confirmed Omicron cases hit 24,968 as of 1800 GMT on Dec. 17, up by just over 10,000 cases from 24 hours earlier.

Without further measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, “modelling indicates a peak of at least 3,000 hospital admissions per day in England,” according to the minutes of the meeting.

(Writing by William Schomberg, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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