Around 800,000 Brits may be suffering from the new strain of Covid, Eris, according to the latest figures.

The new variant Eris is a subvariant of the Omicron variant of the disease, meaning many symptoms are similar. It is also being blamed for the latest spike as it now accounts for one in seven Covid cases.

At the start of last month, 3.3 people out of 100,000 had Covid but this has now jumped significantly, with 7.2 having it as of July 29.

However, it is worth pointing out that hospitalisations pertaining to the new strain remain "extremely low", according to the UKHSA.

The new variant arrived in the UK in May with the World Health Organisation adding it to its watch list - labelled EG.5.1 - soon after. It is not, however, listed as a variant of concern.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “We continue to see a rise in Covid-19 cases in this week’s report. We have also seen a small rise in hospital admission rates in most age groups, particularly among the elderly.

"Overall levels of admission still remain extremely low and we are not currently seeing a similar increase in ICU admissions. We will continue to monitor these rates closely.”

According to the ZOE study, the daily Covid contraction rate has surpassed 50,000 people, with Northern Ireland experiencing the fastest spread of the disease, followed by Scotland, Wales, the West Midlands, the South West, the North East and London.

Symptoms of the Eris variant

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Blocked nose
  • Sneezing
  • Dry cough
  • Headache
  • Wet cough
  • Hoarse voice
  • Muscle aches
  • Altered smell

Speaking to the MailOnline, Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick University, said the rise in cases could be down to the recent poor weather, and a rise in people going to the cinema - perhaps because of the 'Barbieheimer' trend.

He warned: "Overall levels of infection remain low but this is a wake up call stressing that we can’t be complacent when it comes to Covid.

"We need to keep an eye on the emergence of variants and be vigilant as we prepare for an inevitable increase in infections over the autumn/winter."

Independent Sage member Prof Christina Pagel believes the UK is at risk of Omicron subvariants, Arcturus and Eris, due to waning immunity and poor weather. Speaking to The Independent, she said she thinks the UK is “definitely starting another wave”.

She said: “The wet weather over the last few weeks probably isn’t helping either as it keeps people inside. It is likely to be dominant by September when kids return to school and adults to work or university, plus we start spending much more time inside."