New Covid warning as cases of new variant discovered in Britain

A Covid test as cases continue to rise in the UK
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

The UK Health Security Agency has released an update after detecting cases of a new Covid variant in Britain. One of the FLiRT variants, KP. 3, has been identified in small numbers across the country this summer.

In a recent update, the agency highlighted a 12.2 per cent spike in Covid cases in England for the week ending June 26. The same period saw 143 deaths linked to Covid and 1,567 individuals hospitalised due to the virus.

A spokesperson from the agency said: "UKHSA is continuing to monitor data relating to new variants both in the UK and internationally, assessing their severity and the ongoing effectiveness of vaccines. There is no change to the wider public health advice at this time."

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They added: "It is important to note that we will need more data to draw any conclusions about the effect of these mutations on transmissibility and severity of the variant. It's normal for viruses to mutate and change, and more widely we're still getting to grips with how the healthcare system responds to the ebb and flow of seasonal cases.

"As more data becomes available on this variant, we'll have a better understanding of how it interacts with our immune systems and how to optimise our protection and as well as actions we can take to keep the most vulnerable safe and live our lives as normally as possible."

The agency has issued advice on what to do if you fall ill, saying: "If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and you have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities, you should avoid contact with vulnerable people and stay at home if possible."

"For those of us who absolutely can't stay at home, our Living with COVID guidance is unchanged, and outlines how to prevent transmission to others. Vaccines remain our best defence against severe disease and hospitalisation from flu and COVID-19."

UKHSA says it is now actively studying the new variants, adding: "At these early stages our scientists at the Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre (VDEC) are busy growing a stock of the JN.1 variant in our high containment facilities, so that we can begin testing."

"At the same time, scientists in our COVID-19 Vaccine Unit work hand in glove with vaccine developers to get samples of new, as yet unlicensed, vaccines to assess whether they will give better protection against the virus."

"Vaccinations for flu and COVID-19 help to keep vulnerable people out of hospital and carrying on with their day-to-day lives, as well as reducing pressure on our NHS."

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