A runny nose has been identified as one of the top symptoms of the Omicron Covid variant, according to experts.
The ZOE Covid Study looked into the symptoms users have experienced after becoming infected with the virus in London.
Omicron has surged in the UK capital in recent days and is said to account for more than three quarters of cases.
And it appears that the most commonly reported symptoms go beyond that of the main hallmarks of Covid infection.
Currently, NHS Scotland defines the main Covid symptoms as a new and continues cough, fever and a loss of taste or smell.
Covid patients in London are said to have suffered from a runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and a sore throat.
Professor Tim Spector, who is the lead scientist on the Zoe Covid Study app, described these symptoms as similar to those of a common cold.
“Omicron is set to be the dominant strain in the UK by Christmas, and in the New Year cases could hit a peak higher than anything we’ve ever seen before”, he warned.
“In London cases have been rising rapidly, but this will likely slow down soon, as people change their behaviour, such as wearing face masks again, cancelling parties and working from home more.
“Hopefully people now recognise the cold-like symptoms which appear to be the predominant feature of Omicron.
“These are the changes that will slow the spread of the virus.
“It’s my hope that the rest of the country is doing the same to avoid big outbreaks outside of London, especially in big cities.”
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Professor Spector added: “As our latest data shows, Omicron symptoms are predominantly cold symptoms, runny nose, headache, sore throat and sneezing, so people should stay at home as it might well be COVID. We are also seeing two to three times as many mild infections in people with boosters in Omicron areas as we do in Delta variant areas, but they are still very protective and a vital weapon.”
Yesterday, Omicron became the dominant Covid variant in Scotland.
The Scottish Government on Friday recorded 4,336 new infections over a 24-hour period.
Nicola Sturgeon estimated that around 51.4 per cent of those cases have come from the Omicron variant.
She told a media briefing yesterday: “Omicron has now replaced Delta as the dominant Covid strain circulating in Scotland.
“We should not be fatalistic about this. We are not powerless in the face of it.”
The First Minister introduced new measures across Scotland to help beat the spread of the new Covid variant.
Social distancing measures have returned in retail settings and in shops while pubs have been ordered to prevent customers from crowding at bars and entrances.
Scots have also been urged to stay at home as much as possible in the lead up to the Christmas period amid concerns over the impact of Omicron.
Early studies have shown that the variant could evade some vaccine protections while more research is being carried out into the severity of the infection.