People walk on Westminster Bridge in the mist in London, Britian, Dec. 19, 2021. (Photo by Stephen Chung/Xinhua)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that Britain is in an "incomparably better" position than last year in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the country's daily infections repeatedly rising to new highs these days fueled by the Omicron variant.
"Whatever the challenges that fate continues to throw in our way and whatever the anxieties we may have about the weeks and months ahead, particularly about Omicron and the growing numbers in hospitals...we can say one thing with certainty -- our position this Dec. 31 is incomparably better than last year," Johnson said in his New Year's message posted on social media.
The prime minister hailed the success of his government's COVID-19 vaccine program and the "heroic" public response to the booster campaign, claiming that the target to offer a third dose to every eligible adult in the country had been met.
A man receives a vaccine jab at NHS (National Health Service) COVID Vaccine Center at Wembley Stadium in London, Britain, on Dec. 19, 2021. (Photo by Ray Tang/Xinhua)
Around 90 percent of people aged 12 and over in Britain have had their first dose of vaccine and more than 82 percent have received both doses, according to the latest figures. More than 58 percent have received booster jabs, or the third dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Meanwhile, Britain reported a new record increase of 189,213 daily coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 12,748,050, according to official figures released Thursday.
Johnson urged people in England, where no new social restrictions have been introduced before the end of the year, to exercise caution in their celebrations. He also asked people living in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, where tighter coronavirus restrictions are in place, to follow the COVID-19 guidance.
The prime minister also hailed Britain's economic performance in 2021, saying the country has the fastest economic growth in the Group of Seven (G7) countries and it has more people in work now than there were before the pandemic began.
Johnson's remarks came amid major concerns over surging inflation in the country.
The Bank of England, Britain's central bank raised the interest rate earlier this month for the first time in more than three years amid surging inflation after cutting rate to record low during the COVID-19 pandemic.