The new Covid variant, JN.1, has become the most dominant strain of the virus the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

Coronavirus accounted for more than 10,000 reported deaths across the world last month, and the new strain, which is a mutation of Omicron, is believed to have hit an all-time high in the UK following the festive period.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general at WHO, said that JN.1 variant was now the most prominent in the world.

He added: “Although 10,000 deaths a month is far less than the peak of the pandemic, this level of preventable deaths is not acceptable.”

Technical lead at WHO for Covid 19, Maria Van Kerkhove noted there had been an increase in respiratory diseases over winter, including flu and pneumonia as well as coronavirus, and added that it was expected “those trends continue in January through the winter months.”

JN.1 Covid variant symptoms

Symptoms of the new JN.1 strain of coronavirus include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

What to do if you have Covid symptoms?

NHS guidance says: "You may be able to look after yourself at home if you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19.

"You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.

"If your child has mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat or mild cough, and they feel well enough, they can go to school or childcare."

What to do if you test positive for Covid?

The NHS gives the following advice to those who have tested positive for Coronavirus.

They recommend you:

  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days after the day the test was taken if you or your child are under 18 years old – children and young people tend to be infectious to other people for less time than adults
  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days after the day you took your test if you are 18 years old or over
  • avoid meeting people who are more likely to get seriously ill from viruses, such as people with a weakened immune system, for 10 days after the day you took your test