Australia detects 35 cases of BA.2 Omicron variant

Sydney, Jan 28 (IANS): Australia has recorded 35 cases of BA.2 -- a subvariant of the latest Omicron variant.

The cases have been detected in Tasmania, ACT, Queensland, WA and Victoria, the Guardian reported.

The country also recorded 98 deaths due to Covid-19.

Of the new deaths, 39 were recorded in Victoria, 35 in NSW, 18 in Queensland, and one in the ACT. The previous one-day high was on January 21, when 88 deaths were recorded, the report said.

The World Health Organization maintains that BA.2 is not a "variant of concern," meaning there is no current evidence to suggest this new subvariant will worsen Covid transmission, illness severity, or efficacy of vaccines and public health efforts like masking and social distancing.

The subvariant BA.2, dubbed with the moniker "Stealth Omicron," is rising around the world with at least 40 countries reporting cases to a global variant tracking database. It has spread rapidly in Denmark and the UK, with almost half of recent cases in Denmark attributed to BA.2.

According to India's National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the prevalence of Omicron sub-lineage BA.2 is gradually increasing in the country.

Addressing a Health Ministry press briefing on Thursday, NCDC Director Sujeet Kumar Singh said that Omicron sub-variant BA.2 is more prevalent in comparison to the BA.1 variant in India now, adding that the BA.3 sub-variant has not been detected in India yet.

BA.2 shares 32 mutations with the original Omicron, but BA.2 also has 28 mutations which are different, Seshadri Vasan, the Covid-19 project leader at the CSIRO, Australia was quoted as saying to ABC news.



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Title: Australia detects 35 cases of BA.2 Omicron variant

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