Will 'Eris' Covid strain bring back face mask restriction in UK? Experts say… | World News - Hindustan Times

Will 'Eris' Covid strain bring back face mask restriction in UK? Experts say…

Aug 17, 2023 09:26 AM IST

Health experts warn of a potential new wave of Covid-19 in the UK and recommend the reintroduction of face masks.

Health experts are raising alarms, indicating a high likelihood of a new wave of Covid-19 in the UK due to rising cases attributed to the new ‘Eris’ strain. Some of them have recommended the reintroduction of face masks to combat the situation.

A man wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus. (Representative Image/AP)
A man wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus. (Representative Image/AP)

Christina Pagel, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, emphasised the urgency of strengthening surveillance measures and addressing waning immunity. Pagel expressed concern that the UK is “travelling into winter more vulnerable and with blinkers on.”

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In a recent article for the British Medical Journal, Pagel highlighted a concerning trend in Covid-19 hospital admissions. Since the beginning of July 2023, daily hospital admissions related to Covid-19 have doubled, with a similar increase observed in the number of patients primarily hospitalised due to the virus. Pagel said, "So it is reasonably certain that we have entered another covid-19 wave."

Dr Trisha Greenhalgh, a healthcare expert from the University of Oxford, echoed these concerns, emphasising the importance of mask-wearing.

“My various science WhatsApp groups are buzzing… I understand little of the detail but it looks like it’s once again time to MASK UP,” she wrote on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter).

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the EG.5 coronavirus strain as a "variant of interest." However, it hasn't indicated that this strain poses a more severe threat to public health than other variants.

Data from WHO revealed that the EG.5 lineage accounted for 17.4% of sequenced test samples globally in the week leading up to July 23. This represents a significant increase from 7.6% four weeks earlier. Within this lineage, the subvariant EG.5.1 is prevalent, distinguished by an additional spike mutation.

Symptoms of the new COVID variant:

Symptoms of this new Covid variant are similar to those of previous variants. Experts advise individuals experiencing any combination of these symptoms to consider consulting a healthcare professional.

READ IN DETAIL- New Covid variant Eris: Sore throat to loss of smell; 12 common symptoms of EG.5

1. Fever: Characterized by an elevated body temperature above 100.4°F (38°C).

2. Cough: Persistent dry cough, continuous or intermittent.

3. Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing, especially during physical activity.

4. Fatigue: Unusual tiredness and lack of energy, persisting even after rest.

5. Muscle or Body Aches (Myalgia): Ranging from mild to severe discomfort.

6. Sore Throat: Pain, irritation, or scratchiness in the throat.

7. Congestion or Runny Nose: Nasal congestion or mild runny nose, resembling a mild cold.

8. Headache: Common symptom caused by inflammation of the brain lining and nerves.

9. Malaise: General feeling of being unwell, tired, weak, or run-down.

10. Loss of Smell: Impaired sense of smell due to damage to smell-detecting cells.

11. Diarrhoea: Loose, watery stools resulting from inflammation of the intestines.

12. Abdominal Pain: Stomach area discomfort caused by various factors, including inflammation, muscle pain, or gas.

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