After earlier reports that 9 cases of Omicron’s new substrain, the BA.2 subvariant, had been identified in Thailand so far, that total has already risen to 14. The infections in Thailand involve at both Thai nationals and international travellers. . It has also been confirmed that the first death in Thailand from the Omicron variant reported earlier this month was in fact infected with this new strain.
The death toll for the Omicron variant in Thailand has now reached 7 people, or 0.1% of all Covid-19 infections. This first Omicron death was recorded in Songkhla province in southern Thailand and was an 86-year-old woman from Hat Yai. She had Alzheimer’s disease and was bedridden, although she was double vaccinated but did not receive a booster. She was infected with Covid-19 after her grandson traveled to and from Phuket and transmitted the virus to her. His infection was recently confirmed to be of the BA.2 subvariant.
Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant has already spread to at least 40 countries around the world, and in Thailand, the Department of Medical Sciences has sent data from approximately 7,000 patients infected with Omicron to the Department of medical services to investigate to determine if there are more cases of the BA.2 sub-variant already present in the country.
The BA.2 subvariant was first reported in India and South Africa in late December and is believed to have over 20 mutations with about half the number of spike proteins that are essential for interacting with human cells to enable the virus from entering the body.
Director General of the Department of Medical Sciences, Dr Supakit Sirilak, says there is no cause for alarm now, as researchers have not found a clear difference in the severity of the original variant of Omicron and BA.1 and BA.2 subvariants. With no clear sign that it poses greater danger, the World Health Organization has not declared BA.2 a variant of concern.
THE SOURCE: Thai PBS World
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