Our sister title NationalWorld reports that it is a mutation, or ‘recombinant’, which combines elements of two other Omicron sub variants – BA.2 (commonly dubbed Stealth Omicron) and BA.1, the original Omicron strain.
Numbers of Omicron XE cases were included in the UKHSA’s weekly variant surveillance report for the first time.
As of April 22, 1,293 cases of XE had been identified in England and one in Northern Ireland. No figures were reported for Wales and Scotland.
The UKSHA report does not include a break down of local or regional figures.
However, Wellcome Singer Institute, one of the bodies that does genetic sequencing for the UK government, has provided a break down of the cases by council area.
These figures show that a number of Omicron XE cases have been identified in Hampshire, as of April 22.
Here are the areas were the variant has been confirmed:
- Hart – two
- New Forest – two
- Test Valley – two
- Basingstoke and Deane – one
- East Hampshire – one
The area with the highest number of confirmed cases in the UK so far is Southwark in London with 25.
Not all PCR tests go through the genomic sequencing to find the variant, only a sample do.
Wellcome Singer Institute isn’t the only organisation doing sequencing for the UKHSA.
The number of PCR tests being carried out has plummeted since free testing was scrapped at the start of April.