WHO sounds alarm as Covid-19 new variant ‘Eris’ cases rise sharply in UK

The health authorities in the United Kingdom are back on alert after a new variant of the Covid-19 virus is proliferating at a fast pace. As per the news agency PTI, the sub-variant named EG.5.1 (nicknamed Eris) is spreading quickly in the country. Notably, the variant Eris was recognized only on 31 July after the infections from the virus skyrocketed. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised the countries to stay alert and follow the Covid appropriate behaviour.  

As per UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the number of Covid-19 cases is rising in the country. The health agency said that 5.4% of 4,396 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 30 was 1.97 per 100,000 population, an increase from 1.17 per 100,000 in the previous report, the UKHSA said.

1 in 7 new cases of Covid-19

The news platform India Today quoted UKHSA informing that currently, the Eris sub-variant is making one in seven new COVID cases.

“COVID-19 case rates continued to increase this week compared to our previous report. 5.4% of 4,396 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. This is compared to 3.7% of 4,403 from the previous report,” the UKHSA said in a report.

“EG.5.1 was first raised as a signal in monitoring on July 3, 2023, as part of horizon scanning due to increasing reports internationally, particularly in Asia,” the UKHSA said.

“It was subsequently raised from a signal in monitoring to a variant V-23JUL-01 on July 31, 2023, due to the increasing number of genomes in UK data, and continued growth internationally. Declaring this lineage as a variant will allow further detailed characterization and analysis,” it said.

Hospital admission rate still low

The medical experts from the health agency pointed out that the overall rate of hospital admission still remains extremely low and the health department of the UK is following the situation closely. They even recommended to follow Covid appropriate behavior to protect oneself.

“We continue to see a rise in COVID-19 cases in this week’s report. We have also seen a small rise in hospital admission rates in most age groups, particularly among the elderly. Overall levels of admission still remain extremely low and we are not currently seeing a similar increase in ICU admissions. We will continue to monitor these rates closely,” said Dr Mary Ramsay, UKHSA’s Head of Immunisation.

“Regular and thorough hand washing helps protect you from COVID-19 and other bugs and viruses. If you have symptoms of a respiratory illness, we recommend staying away from others where possible,” she said.

The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the health organization is tracking the movement of the virus and current vaccination should be enough for protection, but the countries and their people should not let their guard down.


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Updated: 05 Aug 2023, 08:27 PM IST

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