The unexpected new Covid symptom you should be looking out for

An infectious new variant is currently doing the rounds

Amy Houghton
Written by
Amy Houghton
Contributing writer
Covid test
Photograph: Shutterstock

Covid’s main-character moment might be over, but it’s far from being gone for good. New strains keep appearing, with the most recent ‘Arcturus’ variant (aka XBB.1.16) driving a surge of positive cases and bringing a brand-new symptom along with it. 

While most variants have displayed similar symptoms – fever, sore throat, runny nose – experts have noticed that the new wave is causing conjunctivitis or pinkeye in some patients, particularly children. The eye infection causes eyes to become red, itchy and swollen. 

India has been especially badly affected by the latest strain, with new cases rising by 30 percent in just one day. 

Paediatrician Dr Vishin Vashishtha tweeted: ‘An infantile phenotype seems emerging - treated infants w/ high fever, cold & cough, & non-purulent, itchy conjunctivitis w/ sticky eyes, not seen in earlier waves.’

Right now, Arcturus only accounts for 0.4 percent of cases in the UK, but health officials have warned that this could increase as it appears to be spreading more rapidly than previous waves. 

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