Early research shows symptoms of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus appear to differ from previous strains, doctors and other expert believe.

Generally, people are reporting milder reactions to the virus however many patients have noticed they are different to Alpha, Beta and Delta.

Almost 60,000 new Covid-19 cases have been reported, the highest total since January 9, driven by the surge in the highly-transmissible variant.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said every adult “needs” to get a booster jab in the face of the “highly infectious” variant.

Prof Whitty also said it is “too early to say how severe” the strain is after suggestions from South Africa that it could be relatively mild.

And the World Health Organisation’s director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned people they underestimate coronavirus at their peril, as he voiced concerns the Omicron variant is being dismissed by some as “mild”.

Symptoms of Omicron

The NHS website list three main symptoms of coronavirus:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

But Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, has noticed five symptoms that differ from the Delta variant.

Dr Coetzee told the Daily Star that she alerted officials of a “clinical picture that doesn’t fit Delta” on November 18.

The five distinct symptoms of Omicron are:

  • A scratchy throat (as opposed to a sore throat)
  • A dry cough
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Mild muscle aches
  • Night sweats

Omicron Covid cases could hit 1 million per day

Downing Street did not reject a suggestion that new Omicron cases could hit a million per day next week based on a “valid” estimate from the UK Health Security Agency that daily infections are currently around 200,000.

In Scotland, people have been urged to limit their mixing by socialising with only up to two other households indoors either side of Christmas.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, politicians also backed mandatory Covid certification regulations for patrons wishing to access nightclubs, pubs, restaurants and other licensed premises.

In Wales, the public was told to prepare for more restrictions in the coming weeks, but the nation’s health minister insisted politicians do not want to “cancel Christmas”.