Covid-19 variant

WHO reaches draft consensus on future pandemic treaty

The draft resolution, hammered out in negotiations over the weekend, will be presented for adoption to health ministers at the WHO's three-day special assembly that opens on November 29, they said.

The diplomatic breakthrough came amid growing international concern over the new coronavirus variant Omicron, first detected in South Africa this month, which has spread further around the world.

WHO labels new Covid strain, named omicron

The U.N. health agency recognized the strain, first referred to as lineage B.1.1.529, as a variant of concern.

Health experts are deeply concerned about the transmissibility of the omicron variant given that it has an unusual constellation of mutations and a profile that is different from other variants of concern.

WHO renames UK and other variants with Greek letters

From now on the WHO will use Greek letters to refer to variants first detected in countries like the UK, South Africa and India.

The UK variant for instance is labelled as Alpha, the South African Beta, and the Indian as Delta.

The WHO said this was to simplify discussions but also to help remove some stigma from the names.

Earlier this month the Indian government criticised the naming of variant B.1.617.2 - first detected in the country last October - as the "Indian variant", though the WHO had never officially labelled it as such.

Cough, fatigue, sore throat 'more common' with new Covid-19 variant

The ONS findings are based on positive tests from a random sample of 6,000 people in England.

Loss of taste and smell may be slightly less likely to affect those with the new form of the virus.

However, it is still one of the three main symptoms of the virus.

The NHS website lists the symptoms as a high temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

Most people infected with the virus develop at least one of these symptoms.

UK to close all travel corridors from Monday

Anyone flying into the country from overseas will have to show proof of a negative Covid test before setting off.

It comes as a ban on travellers from South America and Portugal came into force on Friday over concerns about a new variant identified in Brazil.

Boris Johnson said the new rules would be in place until at least 15 February.

A further 1,280 people with coronavirus have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive test, taking the total to 87,291.