Health experts warns as new variant of Covid ‘Eris’ spreads rapidly in UK

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has revealed that Eris is now responsible for one in seven COVID cases in the country.

United Kingdom: A new COVID variant, code named Eris or EG.5.1, is causing concern among health experts as it rapidly spreads across the United Kingdom. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has revealed that Eris is now responsible for one in seven COVID cases in the country, becoming the second most prevalent strain after Arcturus.

Worryingly, Eris is also making its presence felt in other regions, including Europe, Asia, and North America. Japan is experiencing a concerning “ninth wave” of COVID infections related to this variant.

Recent data indicates a troubling trend in COVID-19 cases associated with the Eris variant. The positive rate for COVID-19 in tests conducted on individuals with respiratory illnesses has increased from 3.7% to 5.4% in the past week. Moreover, the overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate rose to 1.97 per 100,000 people.

Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UKHSA, expressed concern over the rising cases. While there has been a slight increase in hospital admission rates, she assured that overall admission levels remain low, with no significant rise in ICU admissions so far.

Dr. Ramsay emphasised the importance of regular hand washing and advised individuals with respiratory illness symptoms to minimise contact with others. The UKHSA plans to administer the seasonal vaccine in autumn 2023 to eligible individuals based on health conditions or age.

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease specialist, highlighted uncertainties surrounding the Eris variant’s impact on the UK. With a growth advantage of 20.5% over other strains, EG.5.1 is being closely monitored by the World Health Organisation.

Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick University, suggested that poor weather conditions may have contributed to the recent surge in COVID cases. Increased indoor interactions, such as university degree congregations and higher cinema attendance, might have facilitated the Eris variant’s spread.

As the UK grapples with the rapid spread of the Eris variant, health authorities and experts are closely monitoring the situation and advising the public to take the necessary precautions to limit transmission.

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