Health

The situation with ‘Deltacron’ in Wales and how much of a concern it is

Scientists have discovered a new variant of coronavirus which is a hybrid of the Delta and Omicron strains.

Deltacron, which was first discovered in January, has since been identified in the United States, France and parts of the UK.

It is understood that the variant was created by someone infected with Delta and Omicron at the same time and their cells replicating together.

Read more:The status of Covid vaccination centres where you live as many start closing

Researchers say the “backbone” of Deltacron is derived from Delta, but its spike protein – which allows the virus to gain entry to human cells – originates from Omicron.

With very few cases of the new variant so far, there is little data which can be used to predict how contagious this variant is and how it will fare against vaccines.

Dr Meng Khaw, national director for health protection and screening services at Public Health Wales, said the NHS trust kept new and emerging variants of coronavirus “under constant review”.

“Public Health Wales is aware of cases of Covid-19 described as ‘Deltacron’. There are currently no reported cases in Wales, but we expect to see cases eventually as we have seen with other variants. The Omicron variant remains the dominant variant in Wales,” he explained.

“There is no evidence of vaccine escape issues relating to Deltacron, and the best thing you can do to protect yourself against this and other variants is to take up the offer of coronavirus vaccine.

“You can also protect yourself and others by maintaining a social distance where possible, washing hands regularly, keeping homes well-ventilated, using a face covering, and working from home if you can.”

It is not thought that this variant has different symptoms to previous types of Covid, therefore the symptoms to watch out for remain the same, including:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature);
  • a new, continuous cough – coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual);
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

“If you develop a cough, fever or change in sense of taste or smell, the public health advice remains that you should self-isolate immediately in order to protect others,” said Dr Khaw.



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Last week UK Government Health Secretary revealed that “a handful” of Deltacron cases had been found in the UK but stressed it was “not of particular concern” as Omicron remains the dominant strain in the country.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Covid-19 infections survey showed an increase in cases across the whole of the UK.

Commenting on a rise in coronavirus cases, Mr Javid said that it was “to be expected” as people are once again socially mixing, but he added that the UK was in a “good position”.

Asked about cases of Deltacron in the UK, Mr Javid told BBC Breakfast: “I think there’s only a handful of cases here in the UK, it’s not something that’s of particular concern to us at this point in time.

“We do keep the situation under review on a daily basis, but the dominant variant in the UK – 99.9% of infections are Omicron infections.

“And whilst the rate has gone up modestly in the last few days, that’s to be expected as we are now open as a country and there’s more social mixing, but there’s nothing in the data at this point in time that gives us any cause for concern.”

Mr Javid also told Times Radio that officials continue to monitor infections, case numbers, hospital admissions and hospital capacities.

“Taking all of that together, we remain in an overall very good position,” he said.

“We’re the most open country in Europe and that’s happened because of the country’s approach and the British people’s approach to vaccination. But also the support that we have from all the different treatments that the NHS is now able to offer and on our testing offer where we focus very much on the most vulnerable.”

He added: “The most important thing that we can all be doing personally is to make sure we are vaccinated, and whilst it’s great that when it comes to boosters that we have eight out of 10 adults that are eligible boosted – which is fantastic to see, one of the highest rates in the world – there are still the two out of 10 that are not, and it’d be great for those people to come forward not just only to protect themselves, but their communities too.”

In Wales, the latest infection rate based on PCR tests for the seven days up to March 7 is 217.7 cases for every 100,000 people – a rise from the 202.1 cases recorded on Friday. This has been rising steadily for the last week. For the full bulletin please go here.

The headlines from the latest ONS infection survey published on March 11 suggest the percentage of people testing positive for Covid in Wales increased during the week ending March 5.

In the last survey, it was estimated 97,900 people in Wales, equivalent to one in 30, had Covid in the week ending March 5. In England the figure was one in 25, in Scotland it was one in 19 and Northern Ireland one in 13. Every part of the UK has seen a rise in the last week.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that all legal Covid measures in Wales could be removed by March 28. He said Wales would remain at alert level zero for the time being but legal requirements could go following a review on March 24 if the public health situation remained stable.

If it does, it means that on March 28 it will no longer be compulsory to wear face coverings in shops, on public transport, or in healthcare settings from that date and self-isolation will not be required by law.

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