Full list of Covid symptoms to know as new FLiRT variants hit UK

A detail of a hand holding a lateral flow test that shows a positive result in a domestic bedroom, on 23rd April 2022, in London, England.
Experts fear a new group of Covid-19 strains are increasing case numbers -Credit:Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images

Health experts are warning people across the UK to be aware of the most up-to-date Covid-19 symptoms following the discovery of a new, highly contagious variant.

Officials have expressed concerns over new strains, officially called FLiRT, fearing it has already become dominant following a rise in positive cases and hospitalisations. With the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reporting a sharp increase of cases week-on-week and experts believe that FLiRT could be the reason for this.

"I think we are the start of a Covid wave driven by the FLiRT variants which are quite likely to be at about 50 per cent of total infections now.," said Professor Christina Pagel, of University College London.

The spike could be caused by a mutation called FLiRT, as three new FLiRT strains, KP. 1.1, KP. 3 and KP. 2 now account for 40 per cent of all cases in the UK. The figures were last updated at the end of April, meaning the strain could now be responsible for more than 50 per cent of all cases and be dominant in the UK.

The latest figures show a 21.2 per cent week-on-week increase in Covid cases in England, 106 new deaths and a 73 per cent increase in patients admitted to hospital with coronavirus. The new mutations are also reported to account for a quarter of all cases in the USA - with concerns it is already widespread.

One woman, young woman with Covid-19 symptoms sitting on sofa at home, holding thermometer.
If you're experiencing Covid symptoms, follow NHS advice -Credit:Getty Images

A spokesman for the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention said: "Viruses constantly change through mutation and sometimes these mutations result in a new variant of the virus. Some changes and mutations allow the virus to spread more easily or make it resistant to treatments or vaccines.

"As the virus spreads, it may change and become harder to stop."

The mutation behind these new variants developed from the JN. 1 strain, which was known as Pirola or Juno. The new mutations are referred to as FLiRT, representing the replacement of a previous mutation in the virus - F has been replaced with L, and R with T.

Recognising symptoms of Covid-19 can be tricky since they largely mirror those of commonplace illnesses like the flu. Most individuals will experience recovery within 12 weeks after their initial Covid-19 symptoms first appear.

However, some people might experience a serious form of the illness where the symptoms persist for significantly longer. Read below for an up to date list of Covid-19 symptoms sourced from the NHS, as reported by Manchester Evening News.

NHS symptoms of Covid-19

Covid-19 symptoms can include:

  • a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours

  • 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

You may be able to look after yourself at home if you have a confirmed case or symptoms of Covid-19.

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