New Omicron sub-variant detected in South Africa

The sub-variant was first detected in July in one sample in the Gauteng province. PHOTO: REUTERS

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa on Thursday confirmed the detection of a new sub-variant of Omicron called BA.2.75 but said that the new sub-variant has not had any impact at present.

National Health Department spokesman Foster Mohale said the sub-variant was first detected in July in one sample in the Gauteng province and since then, it has yet to be detected in other areas again.

"It is of interest, and not of concern. Thus, it has not had any impact and severity as compared to the dominant sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5," Mr Mohale said.

He told Xinhua that BA.4 and BA.5 continue to be the most dominant sub-variants in South Africa but they are now less severe due to higher levels of immunity in the population. The department called on the public not to panic.

South Africa has lifted all major Covid-19 lockdown restrictions as the number of new cases in the country continues to decline. But the health department said the pandemic is not over.

Mr Mohale encouraged those who are still not vaccinated against Covid-19 to get inoculated as well as receive booster shots to protect themselves. More than 50 per cent of the population in South Africa have been vaccinated. XINHUA

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