Expert outlines symptoms of Omicron to look out for
The variant presents slightly differently to other strains.
As the new variant of Covid-19 – Omicron – spreads, experts have urged the public to be vigilant for symptoms of the virus that differ from the other variants.
Ryan Roach, who is the chief executive of Discovery Health, a health insurer in South Africa, told the Telegraph that a scratchy throat is one of the most common symptoms in Omicron patients.
This is then followed by nasal congestion, a dry cough and lower back pain.
Lower back pain and a scratchy throat have not been reported as symptoms of the other variants.
Night sweats are also a symptom of the Omicron variant, Roach says.
Meanwhile, Angelique Coetzee of the South African Medical Association – who was one of the first to identify the new strain – told the public to look out for a scratchy throat, a dry cough, extreme tiredness, mild muscle aches and night sweats.
Additionally, Dr Coetzee told Sky News that the new variant is currently presenting as a "mild disease", but that there is a "different picture in hospital admissions especially in unvaccinated people".
Last week, the Omicron variant accounted for 1% of daily cases in Ireland, but yesterday, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said that it is responsible for almost 15% of daily cases.
Speaking on Wednesday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he anticipates further recommendations from NPHET with Christmas just around the corner.
“I would expect more recommendations around the management of close contacts, recommendations to decrease the amount of social mixing, and recommendations around international travel,” the Tánaiste said.
Varadkar said that he hoped that businesses would not be required to close due to restrictions, but that they would do so if necessary.
"If it is the case restrictions are required to protect life and public health then that’s what we will do," he said.
On the Six One News, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin refused to rule out implementing further restrictions.
Mr Martin said: "I can’t rule anything out and we need good discussions but what I’m heartened by is over the last two months people have responded to public health messaging, they’re changing their behaviour.
"A week is a long time in Covid, I’ve learned that much over the last while, so what I would say to people is, we all need to hold the collective nerve here. We’ve been through different waves of the pandemic, we’ll get over this wave as well.
"This is a very transmissible variant though, that spreads very fast and that is a real threat to us and we need to be conscious of that and it’s all about working connectively, using common sense in terms of our personal behaviour and people are already doing that."