All you need to know about the latest coronavirus variant sweeping the UK this summer

A new Covid variant is believed to be on the rise
-Credit: (Image: PA)

There are concerns that a new coronavirus variant is sweeping the UK amid a rise in cases.

Hospitals have seen a surge in admissions as a result of the more aggressive strain, which has already caused an increase in cases in the USA, according to the BBC.

The new variant, dubbed KP.3, is part of a newly identified group of COVID-19 variants, informally termed FLiRT, which stands for F lineage recombinant type.

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These variants, which include the sublineage JN, have sparked attention due to their unique mutations. In the UK, the KP.3 variant, responsible for a spike in US cases, has been detected, albeit in smaller numbers.

Hospital admissions have climbed to 3.31 per 100,000 people as of the week ending 16 June, up from 2.67 per 100,000 the week before, reports the Mirror.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said it is monitoring the new variant but it needs "more data" to fully grasp its severity and contagiousness.

Prof Paul Hunter, an epidemiology expert from the University of East Anglia, told the BBC: “We are all of us going to get repeated Covid infections from birth through to death. Generally what we've seen is that over the last three years, four years, the severity of illness associated with Covid has gone down a lot.

"Ultimately, it's going to become another cause of the common cold and, for many people, that's what it is now."

CDC spokesperson Rosa Norman has verified that the symptoms linked to KP.3 mirror those of the earlier JN. 1 variant, including shortness of breath, fever or chills a fact supported by anecdotal evidence circulating online.

The list of other potential symptoms also includes:

High temperature or shivering New, continuous cough Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste Shortness of breath Feeling tired or exhausted Aching body Headache Sore throat Blocked or runny nose Loss of appetite Diarrhoea Feeling sick or being sick

What are the current Covid rules and restrictions?

There are currently no Covid-19 restrictions in the UK. However, the NHS has advised anyone who does have the virus to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

People should also avoid close contact with anyone who is at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell. The latest government advice for anyone with Covid is to try to work from home if possible.

Can you still get a Covid vaccine?

The UK's Covid vaccine programme has been scaled back in recent times. Only people who are at increased risk from Covid-19 are now entitled to jabs under seasonal booster programmes.

They are:

  • Aged 75 or over

  • People with a weakened immune system

  • Adults who live in care homes