The stepson of a man said to be the UK's first victim of Omicron has said he died from the variant after refusing COVID vaccines.
The highly-transmissable coronavirus variant is said to have officially hospitalised 15 people in the UK so far, but experts have warned that its spread may mean as many as one million Britons have to self-isolate on Christmas Day.
The UK recorded its highest number of daily coronavirus cases since the pandemic began on Wednesday, with experts now advising people to 'prioritise who they socialise with' this Christmas.
After Boris Johnson confirmed the UK's first Omicron-related death earlier this week, a relative of the victim has said the man died after refusing to be vaccinated because he 'thought it was a conspiracy'.
The family member, who gave his name as 'John' and said he was the victim's stepson, told LBC his stepfather was 'healthy and never went out', but died from COVID-19 on Monday after being hospitalised last week.
He said: "He was healthy - he ate healthily and didn't smoke - he was a recluse to be honest with you. He never went out, he had his shopping brought to him.
Watch: Omicron symptoms: What are they, and how do they compare to other COVID strains?
"The only place he went to was the bin outside the block he lived in, and the post box. He was one of the cleanest guys I knew."
The caller was then asked by LBC presenter Nick Ferrari: "Had he had his vaccinations?"
He replied: "No. No vaccinations, and this is the important thing. He wasn't vaccinated at all. My sister is gutted, but on the other hand is a little bit angry that he never took these vaccines.
"She did have an argument with him at the end of October about this very thing - getting vaccinated."
'John' described how his stepfather fell ill at the start of December, 'had started to look good' after receiving hospital treatment in Northampton, but then 'went downhill'.
He later said his stepfather 'would probably still be here... had he been vaccinated'.
Ferrari asked him: "What was his reason for not getting the vaccination?"
The caller went on: "He thought it was a conspiracy. He was an intelligent man, but all these different things you're getting online and from the media that 'it's not real'... they're conspiracy theories really."
"He started to look good, but then went downhill."
When asked if it's an 'overreaction because of the numbers hospitalised from Omicron: "If you're vaccinated and you've got your booster, you should be alright. It's the ones who havn't got it.
"Had he been vaccinated, he'd probably still be here. He might be ill, but he might still be here."
The details emerged as Professor Chris Whitty warned the Omicron wave of coronavirus sweeping the UK will “peak quite fast”.
Prof Whitty told the Commons Health and Social Care Committee that he believed the doubling rate for Omicron would slow down, as it was clear people were already taking precautions.
Watch: Sunak urged to 'get on a plane' to deliver fresh support for Omicron-hit businesses