COVID-19: New Highly-Infectious Variants Detected In China

New Delhi: Two highly contagious subvariants of Omicron — BF.7 and BA.5.1.7 – have been detected in China.

BA.5.1.7 has been found in Shaoguan city of Guangdong province, while BF.7 has been detected in Shaoguan and Yantai cities.

Health officials in China say that these two Omicron subvariants, with much higher transmissibility, are spreading to more regions at a “fast-spreading speed”.

Experts believe that BF.7 variant has enhanced immunity evasion and, thus, can infect people even if they are fully vaccinated and have contracted the disease before.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had earlier warned against the BF.7 variant of Omicron, and said it was expected to become the new dominant variant.

According to USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BF.7 is a subvariant of Omicron BA.5 and accounted for over 13% of infections last week in the USA. However, BA.5 is still the dominant COVID-19 variant.

Panic-stricken Chinese cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen have ramped up testing while some local authorities have ordered closing of schools, entertainment venues and tourist spots.

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