January 31, 2023

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New COVID variant circulating: Fong

The BA.5 subvariant of Omicron is circulating in Fiji.

Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Doctor James Fong says the ministry has been conducting tests and they will release more information on this after the team receives the test results today.

Dr. Fong says the current behavior of COVID-19 transmission indicates this.

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“The behavior currently the current behavior of the transmission does suggest to me that we’ve already got the newest variant, the BA.5 is likely to be moving around because the current behavior I’m seeing at the moment is similar to that of BA.5.”

Dr. Fong adds that the widespread community transmission of COVID-19 is a concern, but the main indicator for further action will be the level of severe outcomes.

According to health reports, the omicron subvariant of COVID-19, BA.5, has become one of the dominant strains of the virus in the U.S.

It’s the most easily spread strain to date and is able to evade immunity from COVID infection and vaccination.

Earlier this month, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus stated that the new waves of the virus demonstrate again that COVID-19 is nowhere near over.

He also mentioned that the sub-variants of Omicron, like BA.4 and BA.5, continue to drive waves of cases, hospitalisation and deaths around the world.

Ghebheyesus said there are safe and effective tools that prevent infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

However, we should not take them for granted.

The latest sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5 have been reported in a number of countries, including South Africa and some European nations.

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