Boris Johnson has declared an “Omicron emergency” and warned people against thinking the new variant will not make them seriously ill.

In a statement on Sunday night, the prime minister pushed everyone to get their Covid booster jab.

He said everyone eligible aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their booster before the new year.

Mr Johnson also said that the UK Government will provide additional support to accelerate vaccinations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Here is a look at what the current situation is in the UK and what is expected to happen over the coming days and weeks.

How will this faster booster vaccine rollout be achieved?

Mr Johnson said it will require an “extraordinary effort”.

He said the “emergency operation” will be assisted by deploying 42 military planning teams across every region and setting up additional vaccine sites and mobile units.

He said opening hours will be extended so that clinics are open seven days a week, with more appointments early in the morning, in the evening, and at weekends.

He also said thousands more volunteer vaccinators will be trained.

Will the efforts to give booster jabs to the nation affect other parts of the NHS?

Yes. Mr Johnson said the focus on boosters and making the new target achievable will mean some other appointments will need to be postponed until the new year.

But he said that if this is not done now, then the wave of Omicron “could be so big that cancellations and disruptions, like the loss of cancer appointments, would be even greater next year”.

What did Boris Johnson say about the Omicron variant?

Mr Johnson said there is evidence that Omicron is doubling in the UK every two to three days, adding that we know from “bitter experience” how exponential curves develop.

He said there is “no doubt” that the UK faces a “tidal wave” of Omicron infections.

He said it was “clear” that two doses of a vaccine are “simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need”, but that a booster can bring the level of protection back up.

Mr Johnson said there are currently patients with Omicron in hospital, adding that at this point scientists cannot say the new variant is less severe than previous variants.

“And even if that proved to be true, we already know it is so much more transmissible that a wave of Omicron through a population that was not boosted would risk a level of hospitalisation that could overwhelm our NHS and lead sadly to very many deaths,” he said.

How important is it to get the booster jab?

Analysis by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has found that the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines provide “much lower” levels of protection against symptomatic infection with Omicron compared with Delta.

But the UKHSA said a booster dose gives around 70% to 75% protection against symptomatic infection with Omicron.