Coronavirus: Infections of Omicron BA.2 climb by a million in a week – symptoms

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According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Covid cases in the UK have risen by one million in a week.

As a result, it is estimated that one in every 16 people in the country is infected.

This equates to just over four million people.

Rates of Covid-19 have risen steeply in each of the home nations apart from Northern Ireland that has seen a nearly six percent drop in case numbers.

From this steep increase in the number of cases of Covid-19, hospitalisations will be expected to rise.

As of the last official count around 17,440 patients were in hospital with the virus on the March 24; of these patients, half had been admitted for a non-Covid related malady.

The steep rise in infections comes just weeks after the government decided to lift the last of its Covid restrictions, including the legal requirement to self-isolate if someone tests positive.

From April 1 free testing also ends in the UK.

The lifting of restrictions and the removal of free testing is part of the government’s “living with Covid-19” plan under which it plans to try and live with Covid-19 rather than suppress it.

In a statement the government said: “Living with and managing the virus will mean maintaining the population’s wall of protection and communicating safer behaviours that the public can follow to manage risk.

“The government will move away from deploying regulations and requirements in England and replace specific interventions for Covid-19 with public health measures and guidance.

“The government is able to take this step now because of the success of the vaccination programme, and the suite of pharmaceutical tools the NHS can deploy to treat people who are most vulnerable to Covid-19 and the most severely ill.”

Part of reason for the government’s decision to lift the restrictions, that has been criticised by scientists and doctors for lacking any evidence to justify it, was due to the efficacy of the vaccine against current variants.

Although current vaccines were designed to combat the original coronavirus variant that spread around the world in late 2019, early 2020, they are still effective against Omicron, Omicron BA.2, and could remain effective against the latest variant, Deltacron.

Deltacron is a recombinant variant, meaning it is a combination of two variants, specifically Delta and Omicron.

There was concern Deltacron would cause the severe illness of Delta with the transmissibility of Omicron; however, scientists are not concerned having observed Deltacron for several months.

With regard to the symptoms of BA.2, a variant 30 percent more transmissible than Omicron, there is so far little evidence to suggest it causes symptoms unique to it.

Current symptoms of Omicron as listed by the ZOE Covid Study are:
• Runny nose
• Headache
• Fatigue
• Sneezing
• Sore throat.

Although a person no longer needs to self-isolate if they test positive, it is suggested as an option so that others are not infected.

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