New Covid Variant Alert UK Health Agency Issues Update Amid Rising Cases

 New Covid Variant Alert UK Health Agency Issues Update Amid Rising Cases

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The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued an update following the detection of a new Covid variant in Britain. Identified as one of the FLiRT variants, KP.3 has been found in small numbers in the UK this summer. Latest figures reveal a 12.2% increase in Covid cases in England in the week up to June 26, alongside 143 deaths and 1,567 hospital admissions related to Covid.

A UKHSA spokesman stated, “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”, reported The Mirror.

The agency emphasized the need for more data to understand the impact of these mutations on the variant’s transmissibility and severity. “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 optimize our protection,” they added.

UKHSA also provided advice for those who fall ill: “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 defense against severe disease and hospitalization from flu and COVID-19.”

The agency is actively studying the new variants, with scientists at the Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre (VDEC) working on growing stock of the JN.1 variant in high containment facilities to begin testing. Concurrently, the COVID-19 Vaccine Unit collaborates with vaccine developers to assess whether new, yet unlicensed vaccines offer 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,” the spokesman concluded.

As the UK grapples with the new Covid variant and rising case numbers, the UKHSA’s efforts to monitor and respond to these developments remain crucial in safeguarding public health and ensuring the healthcare system can manage the ongoing challenges.

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