CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan confirms first domestic cluster of COVID-19 BA.4 subvariant

08/18/2022 05:43 PM
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CNA file photo
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Taipei, Aug. 18 (CNA) The first domestic cluster infection of the BA.4 Omicron subvariant of the COVID-19 virus has been confirmed in northern Taiwan, within a single family, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Thursday.

The latest BA.4 infection has been found in the wife of a man who was listed Monday as the country's first domestic case of that variant, Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞), deputy head of the CECC's response division, said at a press briefing.

Four members of the family -- the couple and their two children -- all tested positive for COVID-19 a few days ago, and genome sequencing has confirmed that both parents are infected with the BA.4 variant, Lo said.

With the confirmation Thursday of the second case after the man was reported Monday to have the BA.4 virus, the infections have been deemed a domestic BA.4 cluster -- the first in Taiwan, Lo said.

Meanwhile, genome sequencing is also being done in the case of the two children, and the results will be available soon, Lo said.

According to the CECC, the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants of the COVID-19 virus, first identified in South Africa in January and February, respectively, have been found to evade immunity from prior infections and seem to be more transmissible than the original Omicron variant.

To date, Taiwan has recorded 58 domestic BA.5 cases and two locally transmitted BA.4 infections.

(By Shen Pei-yao, Chang Ming-hsuan, Chen Chieh-ling and Ko Lin)

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