CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan reports first COVID-19 BA.2.75 sublineage case

07/22/2022 08:03 PM
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Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Lo Yi-chun tell reporters about the newly identified COVID-19 case involving the Omicron BA.2.75 subvariant. Photo courtesy of the CECC
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Lo Yi-chun tell reporters about the newly identified COVID-19 case involving the Omicron BA.2.75 subvariant. Photo courtesy of the CECC

Taipei, July 22 (CNA) Taiwan reported its first case of the BA.2.75 sublineage of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 Friday, with the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) saying that the infected individual had been quarantined immediately after arriving in Taiwan from India.

Scientists have raised concerns that BA.2.75 may be more contagious and capable of evading immunity from vaccines and old infections than previous variants, however, it is still unclear if it is deadlier than its predecessors.

On Thursday, it was confirmed that a 30-year-old Indian national who tested positive for COVID-19 upon his arrival at an airport in Taiwan on July 10 had been infected with the BA.2.75 sublineage, Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC's medical response division, said at a COVID-19 press briefing.

A family member and a friend who had traveled with the man had also tested positive for COVID-19 but were found to have been infected with the more common BA.4 subvariant of Omicron, Lo said.

Lo said that all three had since recovered and completed quarantine, adding that no contacts have been identified as they did not go out into the community during quarantine.

According to the CECC, the BA.2.75 subvariant was first discovered in May and has spread rapidly in India and has become the mainstream strain in the country.

The subvariant has since also spread to about 15 countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand, the CECC said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said close attention needs to be paid to BA.2.75 to investigate its infectivity and chances of serious illness because of viral mutations that may affect its antigenic properties, according to the CECC.

Meanwhile, Taiwan reported 24,093 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, all but 280 of which were domestic infections, and 86 deaths from the disease, according to the CECC.

To date, Taiwan has recorded 4,386,289 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in early 2020, including 4,368,300 domestic infections, according to CECC data.

With the 86 deaths reported Friday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 fatalities in the country rose to 8,478, according to CECC data.

(By William Yen)

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