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A new strain of Coronavirus has been labelled as the “most transmissible” yet – and it's already sweeping the UK.
Despite the pandemic which took hold of the country in 2019 officially being declared over almost a year ago, the World Health Organisation has issued a worrying warning about a new strain.
Called XBB.1.5, it is said to be more deadly than all previous dominant variants.
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It is thought to be so bad that it has been nicknamed The Kraken.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for Covid at WHO said: 'We are concerned about its growth advantage in particular in some countries in Europe and in the US, particularly the Northeast part of the United States, where XBB.1.5 has rapidly replaced other circulating variants.
“Our concern is how transmissible it is, and the more this virus circulates, the more opportunities it will have to change.”
It has already been stated by experts at CoVariants.org that around 8% of cases in the UK are now of the Kraken variant as of Monday (January 2) – and 50% of those in the Wirral have been identified as being of that variant.
Speaking to the Mail Online, Professor Lawrence Young from Warwick University said that the new strain should be a “wake-up call” to the UK.
He said: “'The XBB.1.5 variant is highly infectious and is driving increased hospital admissions in New York, particularly among the elderly.
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“Waning immunity, more indoor mixing because of the cold weather and lack of other mitigations, such as wearing facemasks, are also contributing to this surge of infection in the US.
“This is a wake-up call – a sharp reminder that we can't be complacent about Covid.
“The threat of XBB.1.5 and other Covid variants further exacerbating the current NHS crisis stresses the need for us to remain vigilant.”
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“We need to continue to monitor levels of infection with different variants in the UK, encourage those who are eligible to get their boosters shots – why not extend this to the under 50s – and promote the value of other mitigation measures.”
Some experts have called on the Government to re-introduce mask wearing in public settings, but no announcement has been made yet.
The UK hasn't released any new country-wide data for Covid cases, but as of last week there was around 37k positive cases across the country, with 14.9million Autumn vaccine boosters administered.
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