COVID19: Omicron subvariants could arrive

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More transmissible COVID Omicron subvariants could reach Cyprus, and the situation should be monitored, said government advisor Dr Zoi Dorothea Pana.

All the Omicron sub-variants are highly contagious but less deadly than Delta or earlier variants.

But the new versions do not appear to cause more severe disease than previous Omicron variants.

In statements to CNA, Dr Pana said variations and mutations are an issue that should be dealt with, as some sub-variations of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5 have been detected, originating from Omicron first detected in South Africa and the US and sporadically in Europe.

“What needs to be further examined is if they cause severe illness and whether they affect the effectiveness of the existing vaccinations.”

“The European Commission and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said we have to monitor COVID-19 and variants and mutations in the future to function timely and effectively respond,” said Pana.

Asked if these subvariants could come to Cyprus, Pana said no one could rule it out or confirm it.

Cyprus is among the countries with a high immunity due to vaccination.

She added that there are 40 countries where less than 20% of the population is fully vaccinated.

“This does not help towards the common goal of increasing the general population’s immunity and vaccination coverage.

“The data for Europe and Cyprus indicates that we will have the desired balance until summer if nothing new emerges.

“September is a period that certainly concerns us from many aspects.”

Dr Pana said the World Health Organisation has issued for the first time an official report on hospital-acquired, antibiotic-resistant infections in connection with COVID-19.

“The conclusions suggest we have a second, silent pandemic of resistant hospital-acquired infections; the problem existed before COVID but has worsened.”

She pointed out that 10% of people are affected by hospital-acquired infections and die.

“About 70% of these infections can be prevented by proper training and implementing best practices.