The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued an update on the latest Covid-19 variant after a small spike in cases was recorded.

The new FLiRT variant, KP.3, has been identified in "small numbers" across the UK so far this summer.

The UKHSA originally said: "Data on KP.3 is limited, but to date there is no evidence of a difference in severity compared to other variants currently circulating in the UK.

"It is important to note that we will need more data to draw any conclusions about the effect of these mutations on transmissibility and severity of the variant.

"It’s normal for viruses to mutate and change, and more widely we’re still getting to grips with how the healthcare system responds to the ebb and flow of seasonal cases.

"As more data becomes available on this variant, we’ll have a better understanding of how it interacts with our immune systems and how to optimise our protection and as well as actions we can take to keep the most vulnerable safe and live our lives as normally as possible."

UKHSA issues update on new Covid variant after small spike in cases

In a new update, stats have shown there has been a 12.2% increase in Covid infections (3,230 cases) in England for the week ending June 26.

The same period saw 143 deaths (down 2.1%) as a result of the virus and 1,567 people hospitalised (down 8.8%).

Despite the spike in Covid infections, the UKHSA said: "UKHSA is continuing to monitor data relating to new variants both in the UK and internationally, assessing their severity and the ongoing effectiveness of vaccines.

"There is no change to the wider public health advice at this time."

You can see the latest Covid infection statistics via the UKHSA website here.

What to do if you become unwell and suspect it could be Covid-19

If you display any Covid or respiratory infection symptoms and have a high temperature, the UKHSA says: "You should avoid contact with vulnerable people and stay at home if possible."

For those who are unable to stay at home, there is a Living with COVID guide on the UKHSA website that outlines how to prevent transmission to others.

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What is UKHSA doing to tackle the new Covid variant?

UKHSA said genetic mutations "happen all the time" and in the initial stages it is difficult to know whether they will provide an advantage to the virus or make it less transmissible or cause milder reactions.

In the early stages of a new variant scientists are working to create a vaccine to that will better protect against the virus.


UKHSA explains: "At these early stages our scientists at the Vaccine Development and Evaluation Centre (VDEC) are busy growing a stock of the JN.1 variant in our high containment facilities, so that we can begin testing.

"At the same time, scientists in our COVID-19 Vaccine Unit work hand in glove with vaccine developers to get samples of new, as yet unlicensed, vaccines to assess whether they will give better protection against the virus.

"Vaccinations for flu and COVID-19 help to keep vulnerable people out of hospital and carrying on with their day-to-day lives, as well as reducing pressure on our NHS."