Lanarkshire residents are being warned about a new Covid variant described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the "most transmissible yet".Subvariant XBB.1.5 is spreading rapidly through the United States with cases shooting up from four to 40 per cent in December.
It is thought the new strain could be causing around 70 per cent of new infections.And the surge has sparked concerns over how well the UK is prepared to handle a fresh Covid wave due to the ongoing pressure on the NHS and hospitals.The Lanarkshire Live app is available to download now.
Get all the news from your area – as well as features, entertainment, sport and the latest on Lanarkshire’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic – straight to your fingertips, 24/7.The free download features the latest breaking news and exclusive stories, and allows you to customise your page to the sections that matter most to you.Head to the App Store and never miss a beat in Lanarkshire - iOS - Android Although this new variant doesn't appear to be any more dangerous than the Omicron strain that swept the UK in 2021, health officials are worried about how easily it's contracted."Our concern is how transmissible it is", said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead on Covid. "The more this virus circulates, the more chances it will have to change."She added that the subvariant "is the most transmissible form of Omicron to date".At the moment in the UK, XBB.1.5 is thought to be responsible for around one in every 25 Covid infections.According to the Sanger Institute, one of the UK's largest Covid surveillance centres, four per cent of Coronavirus cases in the week to December 17 were caused by XBB.1.5.The subvariant is a mutated version of Omicron XBB, which was