How long do Omicron variant symptoms last? Covid subvariant infection period - and positive test time frame

Omicron was recently divided into three lineages, these being BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3.

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

All three lineages were first detected at approximately the same time and from the same place.

A study published in the Journal of Medical Virology titled ‘Emergence of Omicron third lineage BA.3 and its importance’ found that there were no specific mutations for the BA.3 lineage in spike protein.

But what are the symptoms of Omicron?

Here’s what you need to know.

What are the symptoms of Omicron?

Infection with the Omicron variant typically causes “mild illness” for most people, but in some cases symptoms can be more severe.

Evidence so far also indicates that this variant may cause less damage to the lungs than both the Delta variant and the original Covid-19 strain.

The following symptoms have all been identified as common symptoms of Omicron, including its sub-lineages:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches and pains
  • Persistent cough
  • Night sweats
  • Fever 
  • Chills or shivers
  • Dizziness
  • Eye soreness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea

Taking a paracetamol and getting plenty of rest will help to ease the effects of infection, but if you are worried about your symptoms and are not sure what to do, you can get help from the NHS online, or by calling 111.

How long do symptoms usually last?

As with other Covid-19 strains, symptoms of Omicron should typically clear within a few days.

Dr Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and chair of South African Medical Association who first identified the variant, told the Daily Mail: "The symptoms presenting in those with Omicron are very, very mild compared with those we see with the far more dangerous Delta variant.

"Patients typically present with muscle pain, body aches, a headache and a bit of fatigue.

"And their symptoms don’t seem to get any worse than that.

“After about five days they clear up, and that’s it."

How long do you test positive for Covid?

It takes between five and six days on average for someone who is infected with Covid-19 to experience any symptoms, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

However, symptoms can start to appear from one to 14 days.

If you get a positive test result, it likely means that you had Covid-19 when the test was taken.

The time taken to test negative after contracting coronavirus will depend on the severity of the case.

Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance says it is possible to test positive Covid-19 for weeks, but people are likely not to be contagious for very long, even after a positive result.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.