Covid news - live: Omicron sub-variant BA.2 spreads faster, experts say as latest UK hotspots revealed

The Independent
The Independent

A sub-lineage of the Omicron variant of coronavirus is able to spread faster than the original, analysis by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has found.

The UKHSA said BA.2 – a strain first detected in December – had a comparatively higher growth rate in all observed areas of England , meaning cases were increasing faster than they were for BA.1, known commonly as the Omicron variant.

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for the UKHSA, said: “We now know that BA.2 has an increased growth rate, which can be seen in all regions in England.

“We have also learnt that BA.2 has a slightly higher secondary attack rate than BA.1 in households.”

Meanwhile, the PA news agency has provided an update of Covid -19 case rates for each UK local authority.

It found of the 377 local areas, 226 (60 per cent) have seen a week-on-week rise in rates, 150 (40 per cent) a fall, while one remains unchanged.

The five areas with the biggest week-on-week rises are:

  • Lisburn & Castlereagh (up from 1,196.3 to 1,841.6)
  • Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon (1,422.0 to 1,984.5)
  • Ards & North Down (1,107.6 to 1,657.5)
  • Woking (1,208.9 to 1,686.9)
  • Wokingham (1,106.1 to 1,579.8)

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