New Covid strain BA.X being tracked by WHO as fears mount over rising cases

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Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist and lead for the Covid response at the WHO, announced on X, formerly Twitter, that Covid BA.X has a “large number of mutations”.

While there is “limited information” on the virus variant, the strain has been reported in Israel, Denmark and the US.

A research institute in Denmark, Statens Serum Institut reported on the Covid strain.

“A new Omicron BA.2 subvariant has been observed,” the research institute posted to X.

“The variant was seen in one case in Israel, and two cases in Denmark… There is no indication that the new variant causes severe illness.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated: “As we learn more about BA.2.86, CDC’s advice on protecting yourself from COVID-19 remains the same.”

In England, the latest government report shows that the number of people testing positive for Covid is steadily on the increase.

For the past seven days leading up to, and including, August 13, there have been 930 people who have tested positive for Covid.

This is a 17.4 percent increase in the number of positive cases compared to the week prior.

Such an increase in infections has translated into the number of patients admitted to hospital.

In a similar time period, but only recorded up to August 11, there have been 367 admissions to hospital because of Covid.

That is an increase of more than 20 percent compared to the week prior – and now there has been a rise in the number of Covid deaths.

While the increase has been at four percent most recently, this figure could go up as immunity wanes over time post vaccination.

According to the NHS, symptoms of a Covid infection might still include:

  • A high temperature or shivering
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • An aching body
  • A headache
  • A sore throat
  • A blocked or runny nose
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick or being sick.

“The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu,” the NHS adds.

Most people can make a full recovery within 12 weeks but, for some, symptoms could persist and be deadly.

WHO’s Maria Van Kerkhove added: “WHO is tracking three variants of interest and seven variants under monitoring at the moment.”



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