Worry is increasing over the South African coronavirus variant, which is starting to spread in England.
The new mutation is more easily infectious, and can slip more easily past the body’s immune defences.
Now more than 100 cases of Covid E484K have been reported across Liverpool, Preston and Lancashire. It has also been spotted elsewhere in the country, including Bristol.
It’s now crucial to stop the spread of the mutant strain to avoid it wreaking further havoc.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health and Wellbeing at Lancashire County Council, has urged: “If you live in Preston or West Lancashire and you’re feeling under the weather, please get a Covid test.”
According to the NHS, you should get a coronavirus test if you have any of these three symptoms – a new, continuous cough, a fever and a loss of taste and smell.
But Dr Karunanithi is urging people in the affected areas to get tested even if you “don’t have there three classic symptoms”.
He added: “Even a headache could be an indication you may have this mutation.
“While Covid has been here for a while now, [it] reminds us that we all need to keep doing what we can to stay safe and avoid spreading Covid to each other.
“The best way to control the spread is for everyone to continue to abide by the lockdown rules and following the simple steps of washing your hands, using a face covering and making space from each other.”
So if you have any of the below symptoms, you could of course get yourself tested:
- A new continuous cough
- A high temperature
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
But Public health officials have now listed nine additional symptoms which would enable someone to qualify for a test in an area where the mutant strain has been detected. They are:
- A persistent headache
- Fever and chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
If you do have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus, the NHS urges you to:
Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.