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"The UK in particular and some other countries are in a very, very strong position now.

Boris Johnson is expected to announce an easing of Covid-19 plan B restrictions in England.

The more infectious variant will have increased levels of COVID-19 immunity globally.

"I would call on everybody, particularly, the Chinese government, to be transparent about the origins "I think we 're very vulnerable at the moment because much of that scientific cooperation with China, but more broadly, has stopped."

The prime minister will go through the latest Covid-19 data on Wednesday morning with his ministers before making a statement to MPs this afternoon in the House of Commons.

Plan B restrictions, which were introduced before Christmas amid the spread of the Omicron variant, include guidance to work from home, Covid passes and mandatory masks wearing in shops and on public transport.

It comes as Scotland's national clinical director said the UK is in the "endgame" of Omicron.

To work out flu deaths, the UK Health Security Agency — formerly Public Health England — estimates them using a statistical model, which looks at the prevalence of flu and excess winter fatalities. The cumulative number of fatalities was estimated to be i

professor jason leitch told bbc radio 4's today programme that omicron is "definitely" he said.

Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies ( Sage ), told Times Radio it "doesn't do the virus any good" to increase in severity, though new variants may prove to be even more transmissible than Omicron.

"It doesn't do the virus any good to become increasingly severe," he said.

"We need to wait for the evidence on that."

Dr Kit Yates, a member of the Independent Sage pressure group, today called on the UK to 'do more' to prevent flu

"So, I think it is genuinely an optimistic picture, but we 're still not quite there yet."

The University College London ( UCL ) expert said there were "very encouraging signs" of cases plateauing or dropping in some places, but nobody was sure whether they will stabilise at a very high level or dip down.

Meanwhile, hospital admissions remain fairly static, though they are falling in some parts of the country.

Across England there are currently 16,621 Covid patients in hospital, down from 17,120 a week ago.

The World Health Organisation's special envoy on Covid-19 told BBC Breakfast : "I'm a public health person ...

Dr Nabarro reiterated his view that the situation in the UK "gives us grounds for hope" but continued to urge caution.

Parallels between coronavirus and influenza are being drawn now that Omicron is causing around the same number of deaths as a bad flu season.

'Perhaps it's time we started talking about doing more to prevent flu. '

The Government has taken confidence in the collapsing Covid numbers and widening disconnect between cases and serious illness.

Another 84,429 tests came back positive for the virus across the UK in the past 24 hours, according to Government dashboard data, down 41 per cent on last week.

Latest hospital data shows there were 2,357 admissions on January 11, virtually unchanged in a week.

Omicron appears to be peaking at 260 daily deaths across the whole of the UK and around 200 in England.

There are currently 200 daily Covid deaths in England on average as the fourth wave peaks, compared to 400 from flu in a bad year (pictured, Dr Yates' tweet)

One of No10's pandemic modellers today said the relatively low Covid deaths were a sign that the UK could have a 'flu-type' relationship with Covid by the end of the year.

Dr Tildesley, a modeller at Warwick University, said the data suggested the pandemic was 'turning around' following the Omicron wave, meaning ministers could start discussing what 'living with' Covid would be like.

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