The risk of hospitalisation with the Omicron variant of coronavirus is about one-third that of the Delta variant, according to British analysis of more than a million cases of both types in recent weeks.
Britain is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, with record daily infections of nearly 190,000 reported on Friday.
While hospital admissions have started to rise, the government has said it believes the new variant is milder than the Delta variant. The number of patients needing mechanical ventilation beds has also remained steady through December, unlike previous peaks in the pandemic.
The analysis was published by the UK Health Security Agency. It also found that vaccines can work well against Omicron.