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Covid mutation panic: One million runny nose sufferers in North West urged to take test

UK secure CureVac deal to develop new coronavirus vaccines

Health bosses have called on people in Liverpool city, Preston and Lancashire to get tested if they have any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19. The three regions alone registered more than 40 cases of a mutation of the virus, which is suspected to make jabs less effective.

The new strain was initially detected in Liverpool has been spreading across all boroughs in the region.

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health and wellbeing at Lancashire County Council, was one of the healthcare professionals calling for locals to get tested if unwell.

He said: “If you live in Preston or West Lancashire and you’re feeling under the weather, please get a COVID test.

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the three classic symptoms of a fever, loss of taste or smell, or a cough – even a headache could be an indication you may have this mutation.”

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However, he pointed out there was no evidence to suggest the new variant was more infectious or caused more severe symptoms, and highlighted the importance of following preventive measures.

He added: “It is important to stress that there is currently no evidence that this mutation alone causes more severe illness or is more transmissible.

“The best way to control the spread is for everyone to continue to abide by the lockdown rules and following the simple steps of washing your hands, using a face covering and making space from each other.”

Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health for Liverpool, explained symptoms to the disease could change as the virus evolves.

He told the i newspaper: “We need to do everything we can to continue the success we have had in recent weeks in stopping the spread of the virus and getting the infection rate down.

“We are concerned that people may not think they have COVID because they are not displaying the classic symptoms and, as a result, could be unwittingly spreading the infection to others.

“The virus is changing all the time, so it is essential that we redouble our efforts so we stay one step ahead of it, and we know some people have been testing positive with other symptoms.”

The warning comes after yesterday the UK reported a further 19,114 coronavirus cases and 1,014 deaths, according to the Government’s data.

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Downing Street confirmed all adults aged 50 and over should receive a coronavirus jab by May.

The Cabinet Office issued a press release on Friday morning stating the plan was to reach the nine groups by May.

Downing Street later said the press release had been issued “in error” before eventually confirming it was correct.

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