Two new sub-variants of Omicron are being investigated by the World Health Organisation to assess whether they are more infectious then previous strand of the Covid strain.

The two sub-variants in question are BA.4 and BA.5 which have both been added to the global agency’s monitoring list.

BA.5 has already been detected in England and Scotland two cases being reported up to 30 March, according to the UK Health Security Agency.

It is worth noting that only a few dozen cases of the new sub-variants of Omicron have been detected worldwide how the WHO said it had begun tracking because they were “additional mutations that need to be further studied to understand their impact on immune escape potential.

South Africa, Botswana and Denmark are other countries to have detected at least one of the new variants.

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Boris Johnson cannot rule out another lockdown

The news follows Boris Johnson’s warning that it would be “irresponsible” to rule out further lockdowns if more deadly coronavirus variants emerge.

The Prime Minister continued to say he could not rule out the prospect of taking drastic action again as the nation feels the impact of the new Omicron strain.

Speaking to Conservative MPs Esther McVey and Philip Davies for GB News, he said: “I want to avoid any such thing ever happening again and I can’t rule out something, I can’t say we wouldn’t be forced to do non-pharmaceutical interventions again of the kind we did.

“I think it would be irresponsible of any leader in any democracy to say that they’re going to rule out something that can save lives.

“I believe the things we did saved lives. I’ve got to be absolutely frank with you, there could be a new variant more deadly, there could be a variant that affects children, that we really need to contain, I’m not going to take any options off the table. But I don’t think it will happen.

“We’re now in the phase where the virus is losing its potency overall and we’ve got a massively vaccinated UK population.”

Symptoms of Omicron

The new symptoms have been added to the NHS website, along with the three traditional symptoms of a fever, a new and persistent cough, and a loss or change in taste or smell.

According to the signs of Covid-19 that people should look out for also include:

– shortness of breath;
– feeling tired or exhausted;
– an aching body;
– a headache;
– a sore throat;
– a blocked or runny nose;
– loss of appetite;
– diarrhoea;
– feeling sick or being sick.

A note on website adds: “The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu.”