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Symptoms of the Omicron variant of coronavirus appear to be different from previous strains, doctors and epidemiologists believe.
Although some people are reporting mild reactions to the virus, many have noticed they are not the same as Alpha, Beta and Delta strains.
There were 54,661 new cases of Covid reported across the UK in the last 24 hours and 38 people died after catching the virus. Growing concerns over the Omicron variant have led to speculation over fresh restrictions to stop the new strand overwhelming the NHS.
The NHS website is asking that anyone with the three traditional symptoms of coronavirus get a free PCR test as soon as possible, Mirror Online reports.
The website lists these three traditional symptoms as:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
But early reports show that Omicron has five distinct symptoms of its own. They are:
- A scratchy throat (as opposed to a sore throat)
- A dry cough
- Extreme tiredness
- Mild muscle aches
- Night sweats
Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association and one of the first people to suspect the Omicron Covid strain has said she noticed patients at her private clinic showing symptoms that differ from the Delta variant.
Dr Coetzee said she alerted health officials of a "clinical picture that doesn't fit Delta" on 18 November when seven patients showed different symptoms that seemed "very much related to normal viral infection".
She said her patients presented symptoms of extreme tiredness, mild muscle aches, scratchy throat and dry cough.
Unlike the previous variants, she added, this one does not cause a loss of taste or smell.
Night sweats – which are when you sweat so much that your night clothes and bedding are soaking wet – has also been noted by doctors in South Africa, where the variant was first discovered.
At a briefing convened by South Africa's Department of Health, GP Unben Pillay listed the symptoms that Omicron patients were reporting.
One telltale sign many patients are experiencing and showing he said, were "night sweats".
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