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What the new Covid strain, dubbed Eris, means for you

A new coronavirus variant known as Eris is quickly becoming the dominant strain in other countries. Here is everything you need to know. 

A new coronavirus variant, dubbed Eris, has caused a spike in hospital admissions in the UK and the US sparking concerns it will lead to a similar trend in Australia.

While there haven’t been any reported cases here in Australia, health experts believe the variant is already circulating in the Australian community, according to SBS News.

So what is Eris, and what are its symptoms? Here is everything you need to know.

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What is Eris?

Eris, or EG.5.1, is a variant of Omicron, which is itself a variant of Covid. The strain was first reported in Asia in July of this year, with numbers jumping in the UK and US particularly.

According to the UK’s The Independent, Eris was classified as a variant in the UK on July 31, it now accounts for 1 in 10 Covid cases in the country.

The US Center of Disease Control has reported a 12.1 per cent increase in hospital admissions in the US the week ending July 22. The World Health Organisation has added Eris to the list of variants under monitoring.

What are the symptoms of Eris?

Symptoms of the strain are:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (mild or severe)
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Change to sense of smell

Should we be worried?

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, 5431 cases of Covid-19 were reported across Australia in the past week. That means there is an average of 776 cases per day.

Associate Professor Paul Griffin, an infectious disease physician and clinical microbiologist, told SBS News that while the pandemic is “no longer considered a global health emergency, the threat has not gone away.”

He suggested having a Covid plan, particularly for those more susceptible like the elderly and those with comorbidity factors.

What to do if you test positive for Covid

While isolation is no longer a legal requirement if you test positive for Covid, staying at home protects the people in your community.

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, if you test positive, you should not visit high-risk settings like hospitals and aged and disability care settings for at least seven days or until symptoms have gone or unless seeking immediate medical care.

The Department recommends that those with Covid avoid contact with people who are at a higher risk of catching the disease, wearing a mask, working from home and practising good hygiene.

“That would include how to reduce your risk, whether through vaccine or other strategies, a plan for how to get tested quickly, how to get antivirals, and how to manage medical problems at those times. Being prepared is going to be the main thing for the foreseeable future,” he said.

This article was initially published on and has been reproduced with permission.


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