The World Health Organization has identified B.1.1.529, known as Omicron, as a Variant of Concern on November 26, 2021. Compared to the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and Delta variant, Omicron is likely to spread more can cause infection to even vaccinated and asymptomatic individuals.
Today, the highly contagious variant is causing an increase in cases and high demand for a Covid-19 test. Like all the coronavirus variants, it causes similar COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, fever, and fatigue. But there are various reports that people who contracted the variant lost their sense of taste and smell.
For people who are fully jabbed or had their booster shots, omicron symptoms might be mild. On the other hand, unvaccinated individuals might develop quite severe symptoms, leading to hospitalization or, worse, death. Such symptoms, like those who tested positive for any variant of COVID-19, typically experience them for a couple of weeks.
Amidst the rise in coronavirus cases worldwide, many countries are changing their testing guidelines to deal with the new variant and prevent further spread. In the UK, people who are currently infected have been granted the chance to cut their isolation period, given that they test negative after taking a lateral flow test, also known as the rapid antigen test.
Furthermore, individuals in the UK who test positive via LFT will not have to take a confirmatory PCR test as the infection level of COVID-19 is so high that a positive LFT result is likely to be true. Others who have coronavirus symptoms but tested negative must still take a PCR test to ensure no active infection.
The emergence of variants of the COVID-19 is an unfortunate reminder that the world is still in the grasp of the virus. Knowing this, it is vital to follow health safety practices and ways to protect yourself and others.
Read this infographic from Harley Medic International to learn more about the Omicron variant.