Christmas Covid warning as UK cases increase – here are symptoms and what to do

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    Brits are being asked to "use common sense" if they find themselves suffering from Covid symptoms this Christmas as cases across the country begin to rise.

    Despite the festive season being in full swing, nearly 6,000 people tested positive for Covid in the week leading up to and including Saturday, December 9. Government figures also showed more than 2,600 were hospitalised due to the virus during the same period.

    Influenza (flu) positivity rose from 2.4% to 5.6% within a week earlier this month. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is also on the rise as households prepare for a busy Christmas.

    READ MORE: Brits warned Covid may be more severe than before in worst blow since vaccine rollout

    For the latest news and updates on the Coronavirus, click here.

    Immunologists have cautioned that antibody levels in the UK are currently "as low now as they have been since the vaccine was first introduced," The Mirror reported.

    Government guidance for isolation after a positive Covid test has long been removed with the last formal Covid restrictions scrapped almost two years ago.

    Dr Catherine Hyams from Southmead Hospital Bristol said: "It's a really difficult decision, right? You really want to see close relatives and be close to them and at the same time, you don't want to put them at risk (if they are vulnerable).

    "These are balance judgments that each person makes for them and their family, and for some people is the right thing to do to give their loved one that last hug at Christmas and to spend that last Christmas with them and, for other people, it's not and it's really difficult, right?

    "These are really difficult decisions but I think using common sense is the best approach. Social contracts are really important to people. They are important to children, important to the elderly, really important to families. I suppose it's what the great British public do best actually, and it's using common sense."

    Hospital admissions for the increase in respiratory diseases in winter is on the rise, with Dr Hyams adding: "You can't really tell the difference between them, I think, from a symptom point of view. It's like everything, there is a spectrum for these kinds of conditions.

    "So there are some people who have a virus and they'll have a very mild condition, or they even won't have symptoms at all and they just they have the infection and they have the virus in their nose. Then the other people who have a really severe disease, who will be coughing and bringing up phlegm and have fevers and they'll be shaking. This symptoms for Covid are very similar to those for flu and other infections."

    Professor Peter Openshaw from Imperial College London previously said: "The thing that made the huge difference before was the very wide and fast rollout of vaccines – even young adults managed to get vaccinated, and that made an absolutely huge difference. I'm also hearing of people having nasty bouts of Covid, who are otherwise young and fit. It's a surprisingly devious virus, sometimes making people quite ill and occasionally leading to having 'long Covid.'"

    Dr Mary Ramsay from UKHSA mentioned that even though you can't book online anymore, you can still chat with your GP or pharmacist to get a jab.

    * This article was crafted with the help of an AI tool, which speeds up Daily Star's editorial research. An editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected]

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