New coronavirus variant identified, but isn’t a case for alarm

Public Health England (PHE) has identified cases of a new Covid-19 variant (E484K) across the Liverpool City Region and in Warrington.

PHE are therefore undertaking further analysis to understand more about the mutation, but there is currently no evidence that this mutation alone causes more severe illness or is more transmissible.

The council is supporting enhanced testing and contact tracing throughout Warrington, which will help to reduce the virus’ transmission, and the national restrictions currently in place will also help to slow the spread of the virus and combat the new variant.

Residents are reminded to remain vigilant, but to also be aware that this new strain of COVID-19 shouldn’t cause further alarm.

The council is urging people to continue sticking to the prevention basics of washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering when appropriate and keeping a safe distance from others. As well as following these basics, those who develop any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, should self-isolate immediately and book an NHS test.

NHS PCR tests are available seven days a week for anyone showing coronavirus symptoms, no matter how mild. You can book a test at NHS test at gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119 if you do not have internet access.

Alongside the three main three main symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a persistent cough and a loss of smell or taste), some people may experience other symptoms that may turn out to be coronavirus. The list of other symptoms you could experience include: diarrhoea, a persistent headache, fever and chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, and nausea or vomiting. Some people also experience very mild, cold-like symptoms, which could also be coronavirus. If you develop any of these symptoms, you should also book an NHS PCR test.

If you don’t have the classic symptoms when you are booking a coronavirus test, click the ‘I don’t have any symptoms’ option. When asked ‘Is the person who needs a test part of a trial or government pilot project? Click ‘yes’ and when asked which pilot or trial you are part of please click ‘the person is taking part in community testing’.

Thara Raj, Warrington’s director of public health, said: “Understandably, some residents may be concerned about cases of this new COVID-19 variant in Warrington, but all viruses mutate over time so this shouldn’t cause any further alarm. We are monitoring the situation closely and all necessary public health interventions are being undertaken, including enhanced contact tracing and control measures. We will continue to monitor this variant with our partners.

“The best way to stop the spread of the virus regardless of its strain is to follow the basic hands, face, space measures that we are already doing brilliantly. As always, the best defence is to follow these rules and stay at home as much as possible will help to stop the spread of this variant and any other cases of COVID-19.”

To find out more about coronavirus testing, visit warrington.gov.uk/testandtrace

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