Warning over 700% surge from new Covid strain as expert says 'wake up'

A new Covid variant has sparked concerns about a rise in hospital admissions. The UK is bracing for a potential surge amid a rapid spread of a new Covid variant, KP. 3.

Hospital admissions have seen a 24% increase in just the last week, with many attributing this spike to the new variant. This variant is a subvariant of the highly contagious Omicron strain and, along with other variants, accounts for over 69% of cases in the US.

In April, a group of new virus strains known as the FLiRT variants (based on the technical names of their two mutations) emerged. By June 8, KP. 3 accounted for 33.1% of infections in the United States and now it's making its presence felt in the UK.

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Virologist Professor Lawrence Young of Warwick University told i: "This is a wakeup call. The virus hasn't gone away and is certainly not a seasonal infection. A combination of new, more infectious virus variants and waning immunity is very likely contributing to these increased levels of infection.

"The hope is that this will not result in a big wave of infection but we need to keep a close watch."

The UK Health Security Agency said in May: '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.

'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.

What are the symptoms of KP.3?

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Headache

  • Muscle aches

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • “Brain fog” (feeling less wakeful and aware)

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (upset stomach, mild diarrhea, vomiting)