THERE are now 10 people in hospitals in England who have tested positive for the Omicron variant, Sajid Javid said today.
The health secretary made the announcement as he launched a "new national mission" to get a million boosters in arms every day.
He warned the new Covid variant is now spreading at a "phenomenal rate" and is doubling every two to three days.
There have been around 3,000 confirmed cases of Omicron in England.
Mr Javid said it already accounts for 40% of new cases in London and will become the UK's dominant strain shortly.
The health secretary said two jabs "don't work" against the new strain but that "three do" as he urged Brits to get their boosters.
But he couldn't say whether any of the patients with the new Covid strain are seriously ill.
He also didn't specify whether catching Omicron was the cause of their hospitalisation.
Mr Javid did confirm there haven't yet been any deaths as a result of of it.
But he added: "There is always a lag between infection and then hospitalisation and then, sadly, death."
'Tidal wave of infection'
And he said even if Omicron does turn out to be more mild it could still cause a spike in hospitalisations because it's so infectious.
He said: "We're facing a tidal wave of infection where once again, it's a race between the vaccine and the virus.
"Even when a virus is mild, a small percentage of people from a very large number still can equal a high number of hospitalisations.
"Two doses are not enough, but three doses still provide excellent protection against symptomatic infection."
The health secretary insisted that despite the alarm over Omicron ministers are "not planning" to introduce harsher Plan C restrictions.
They could include a return to social distancing, the hated rule of six, outdoor service at pubs only, and even a total ban on mass gatherings.
Mr Javid also denied suggestions Britain is more vulnerable to Omicron because the AstraZeneca jab is less effective.
He said vaccine centres will be open every day across the holidays except Christmas Day so more Brits can get jabbed.
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Their opening hours are being extended to at least 12 hours a day in a bid to get all Brits topped up by New Year's Eve.
GPs will also be drafted into the effort and have been told to drop non-urgent appointments so they can focus on jabbing.
And the army is involved with 41 military planners on hand to help with the logistics of the huge rollout.
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