Soon after government scientists raised the Covid-19 alert level to 4 on a 5-point scale, the Prime Minister announced that the UK’s booster vaccine programme must speed up. 

A fortnight ago I said we would offer every eligible adult a booster by the end of January. Today in light of this Omicron emergency I’m bringing that target forward by a whole month,” the Prime Minister said in a hurriedly arranged national address on Sunday night. “Everyone eligible aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their booster before the New Year.”

The pound sterling dropped 0.4% to $1.3225, though remained largely steady against the euro at 85.29 pence. 

Earlier in December, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated Omicron as a “variant of concern”, with scientists currently unsure as to whether or not the Omicron strain is more severe than previous Covid-19 variants.