What is the new Covid-19 mutation of Omicron and how many cases are in the UK?

A NEW sub-variant of the Covid-19 Omicron strain, known as BA.2, has been designated a ‘variant under investigation’ by British health chiefs.

By Tom Cotterill
Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 3:07 pm
Updated Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 3:16 pm
A new mutation of the Covid-19 Omicron variant has been discovered, health chiefs in the UK have warned.
A new mutation of the Covid-19 Omicron variant has been discovered, health chiefs in the UK have warned.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced the news of the new mutation of the highly-infectious Omicron variant, which has been running rampant across Britain.

So far, case numbers of the new variant of Omicron remain very low, with just 426 cases of Omicron BA.2 confirmed since December 6 – 97 of which were found in the south east. The strain has been found in 40 countries worldwide – although health officials don’t know where the mutation first originated.

Read More

Read More
Covid-19 vaccine given to a person in a hot tub in Portsmouth

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Dr Meera Chand, Covid-19 incident director at UKHSA, said: ‘It is the nature of viruses to evolve and mutate, so it’s to be expected that we will continue to see new variants emerge as the pandemic goes on. Our continued genomic surveillance allows us to detect them and assess whether they are significant.

‘So far, there is insufficient evidence to determine whether BA.2 causes more severe illness than Omicron BA.1, but data is limited and UKHSA continues to investigate.

‘Case rates remain high throughout the UK and we must remain vigilant and take up vaccinations. We should all continue to test regularly with LFDs and take a PCR test if symptoms develop.’

The revelation of the new strain came as health bosses across Portsmouth issued a plea to the public to remain cautious about Covid.Health and social care secretary, Sajid Javid urged people to ensure they had received both doses of the vaccine and a third booster jab.

He added: ‘We are learning to live with this virus – and thanks to our world-leading surveillance system we can rapidly detect and carefully monitor any genetic changes to Covid-19.

‘Our exceptional vaccine rollout means the number of people severely affected by Covid-19 is low, and the UK’s innovation and research has discovered life-saving treatments for those most at risk from Covid-19.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, with 70 per cent fewer adverts for less than 20p a day.