Covid has seen NHS staff absences more than triple at hospital trusts across London since the beginning of the month. 

The data from NHS England showed that 3,874 staff in the capital were absent for Covid-19 reasons on December 19. 

This makes it more than double the previous 1,540 from the week prior and more than three times the 1,174 at the start of the month. 

The total includes staff who were ill with Covid-19 or who were having to self-isolate.

Across England there were 18,829 NHS staff absent as of December 19, seeing a rise of 54% from 12,240 a week earlier. 

The figures come as the Omicron variant surges through the city, with recorded case rates of Covid across the UK rising above 100,000 on Wednesday (December 22) for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

NHS England’s national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: “The NHS is on a war footing and staff are taking the fight to Omicron, by boosting hundreds of thousands of people each day, treating thousands of seriously ill Covid patients and delivering urgent care for other conditions."

"Staff are making every possible preparation for the uncertain challenges of omicron, including recruiting thousands of nurses and reservists but, while we’ll leave no stone unturned to get the NHS battle-ready," he added.