Coronavirus: UK cases surpass ten million during pandemic
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The Omicron variant of coronavirus has sparked a flurry of measures by the UK Government. The most notable is the expansion of the booster programme to all adults aged 18 and over. Much is still to be learned about the new variant, but early indications are a cause for concern. Doctor Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and chair of South African Medical Association, was one the first people to alert the world to the perceptible impact of the new strain.
The doctor observed a number of distinct symptoms in seven patients at her clinic.
She said the symptoms were different from the dominant Delta variant, which is currently terrorising much of Europe.
Speaking to Reuters on Monday, she recalled how an infected patient at her clinic reported being “extremely fatigued” for two days with body aches and headache.
“The most predominant clinical complaint is severe fatigue for one or two days. With them, the headache and the body aches and pain.”
Why the new variant is a cause for concern
The Omicron variant continues a number of mutations on its spike protein. It is via the spike protein on the outer lining of virus that the virus gains entry into the cells of the body.
There are fears that some of these mutations may evade the immune response provided by the current vaccines.
British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Wednesday it was possible that vaccines were less effective against the Omicron variant of coronavirus, but they should still protect against serious disease.
“Our best form of defence still remains our vaccines,” Javid told Sky News.
“It’s possible of course, it’s possible that it might be less effective. We just don’t know for sure yet. But it’s also very likely that it will remain effective against serious disease.”
The Health Secretary also acknowledged the enormous task ahead.
Getting everyone eligible a Covid booster jab the end of January will be a “huge ask”, he told Sky News.
Following the announcement on Tuesday that the vaccination programme is to be expanded, Mr Javid said he was confident the NHS would be able to cope.
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