Two new Omicron subvariants in SA but no need to panic, says WC Health Dept

According to Western Cape Head of Health, Dr Keith Cloete, genomic data and PCR test data suggest that these new sublineages may be causing an increasing share of reported cases in the country, particularly in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

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CAPE TOWN - There are two new Omicron sublineages but there is no need to panic, says the Western Cape Health Department.

According to the director of Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation, Tulio de Oliveira, the sublineages have been detected in South Africa, Botswana, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.

It has been identified as BA.4 and BA.5.

According to Western Cape Head of Health, Dr Keith Cloete, genomic data and PCR test data suggest that these new sublineages may be causing an increasing share of reported cases in the country, particularly in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

He said that there were differences in the mutation profile from other Omicron sublineages but it was too early to say.

The BA.4 is mainly in Gauteng and the BA.5 in KwaZulu-Natal, while in the Western Cape there's a very small number of specimens with BA.4.

Scientists say that vaccination remains the key intervention to protect against severe disease, hospitalisation and death from all known variants.