THE first confirmed case of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been detected in the Winchester district, the UK Health Security Agency reported today.

Nationally across the UK the variant has been detected as confirmed or probable 448 times.

In Hampshire it was first found in Basingstoke centring on Hatch Warren Junior School.

No further information is available about the location of the Omicron variant in the Winchester district which covers the same area as the city council.


The recent sharp increase in Covid cases appears to be peaking in the Winchester district.

Figures released this afternoon show there were 780 new cases in the seven days to December 5, a rise of 45, or six per cent. A week ago the figures were 733, an increase of 177 or 32 per cent.

The number of deaths since the start of the pandemic remains at 183 with no deaths reported for 20 days

The worst affected area is still Winchester West, which includes Weeke, Fulflood and the prison. The rate per 100,000 people is 884, down from 964 a week previously.

Cases are rising in eight areas and dropping in five, with no change in one.

The other areas of the district with severity listed in descending order are:

South Wonston, Sutton Scotney and Micheldever: 44 cases, up three (seven per cent), 743 per 100,000 people;

Winchester North and Sparsholt: 71 cases, up one (one per cent) 726;

Winchester East (Winnall, St Giles Hill, Highcliffe and Bar End): 57, up three (six per cent) 702;

Bishop's Waltham and Waltham Chase: 68 cases, up 20 (42 per cent) 693;

Swanmore, Hambledon and West Meon: 58 cases, up 16 (38 per cent) 658;

Springvale and Itchen Abbas: 43 cases, no change, 626;

Alresford: 51 cases, up 16 (46 per cent) 601;

Denmead and Southwick: 60 cases, down three (five per cent) 567;

Whiteley, Knowle and Wickham: 65 cases, down six (eight per cent) 553;

Winchester Central and South: 60 cases, down two (three per cent) 535;

Colden Common and Twyford: 50, down four, (seven per cent) 521;

Oliver's Battery and Hursley: 37 cases, down seven, (23 per cent) 452;

Stanmore: 28 cases, up five (22 per cent) 404.

The university, which falls across Winchester West, Winchester Central and South and Stanmore, has 36 reported cases with eight people having been on campus.

In Winchester district since the start of the pandemic there have been 17,172 cases, a daily rise of 129, for a figure per 100,000 people of 13,636, which is lower than the Hampshire-wide rate of 14,154.

What is Omicron? 

Omicron, scientifically known as B.1.1.529 variant, is a highly mutated strain of Covid.

It has 32 mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that vaccines use to protect the immune system from Covid. 

Omicron was first spotted in Botswana, South Africa, and there are now hundreds of cases already in the UK with Sage scientists warning that restrictions need to tighten or it could cause tens of thousands of Covid deaths in England in the next five months. 

Although the government has only recently introduced Plan B restrictions, the Daily Mail reported officials are considering Plan C restrictions in the new year. 

What are the potential signs and symptoms of Omicron?

Although studies into Omicron are still ongoing, doctors in South Africa where the variant was first identified have highlighted a few symptoms they noticed that are different. 

Chair of the South African Medical Association Dr Angelique Coetzee, who first raised the alarm of the Omicron variant, said that her patients didn't suffer a loss of taste or smell. 

She told the Telegraph that a key symptom was strong fatigue, which she noted in otherwise healthy male patients. 

Here is a list of the symptoms that have been associated with Covid and the Omicron variant anecdotally:

Moderate to severely painful headaches

No cough- but a scratchy throat

Body aches and pains - including in the shoulders and arms

Tiredness and fatigue

Runny nose 


Night sweats

No loss of taste or smell 

What are the main Covid symptoms? 

The World Health Organisation have said so far that the symptoms of Omicron are believed to be the same as Covid. 

The NHS website lists these as the main symptoms of Covid that are officially recognised:

A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal


If you experience any of the symptoms above, the NHS say it is important to get a PCR test, even if a lateral flow test comes back negative, and to self-isolate until you recieve your test result.

The PCR tests are free and can be ordered from:

If you are worried about symptoms or not sure what to do, you can get help from the NHS by calling 111.

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Meanwhile, people across Hampshire and Isle of Wight unable to attend or no longer need their Covid appointment are asked to cancel to free up slots.

Almost 2,000 slots were missed at the mass vaccination centres at St James’s Hospital, Portsmouth, Oakley Road, Southampton and Riverside on the Isle of Wight in the last week.

The real figure is likely to be far higher as this does not include missed Covid appointment slots at GP practices across Hampshire and Isle of Wight, which record the data individually.

The NHS is asking eligible people to come forward as soon as they are invited to receive the Covid vaccine and wherever possible is encouraging those who have booked appointments to attend.

However if anyone has made an appointment that they are then unable to attend for any reason, they are asked to cancel or change their booking as soon as possible to free up the slot for other people awaiting their COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr Matt Nisbet, GP Partner and Clinical Lead of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “Dr Matt Nisbet, GP and Clinical Lead of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “We know that eligible people are keen to get vaccinated as soon as possible. We are working hard to scale up capacity right across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight but particularly in the areas of greatest need, based on evidence, to help ensure our communities are protected against the virus.

“To ensure we can offer the vaccine to as many people as possible, it is really important than anyone with a booked appointment who no longer needs it for any reason cancels or moves their slot.”

Angela Anderson, Deputy Chief Nurse at Solent NHS Trust, said: “We have had an incredible response from the public to get their vaccinations ever since we first opened the mass vaccination centres across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in January.

“However, almost 2,000 appointments at our centres were missed in the last week alone. These unwanted slots could have been offered to other eligible people if they had been cancelled. Please help others by cancelling your COVID-19 vaccination appointment if you do not plan to attend or if you have had an earlier appointment elsewhere.”

More than 3.26m Covid jabs have been delivered across Hampshire and Isle of Wight since the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS launched a year ago.

In-line with national guidance, eligible people will continue to be invited in order of vulnerability.

The offer of a jab is not time-limited so anyone invited can have the vaccine – even if they have previously declined and changed their mind.