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S. Korea discovers its first cases of BA.4, BA.5 strains on Tuesday Updated: 2022-05-18 05:04:48 KST

The spread of COVID-19 has definitely slowed down.
On Tuesday, South Korea logged 35-thousand 1-hundred 17 new infections.
This was the lowest tally reported on a Tuesday in 15 weeks.

While the country has seen daily cases go down for weeks nownew strains of the highly contagious Omicron variant have been detected.
On Tuesday BA-4 and BA-5 were added to the list of Omicron variants now in the country.
But health authorities say these new subvariants won't exacerbate the pandemic.

"The WHO hasn't classified either B-A-4 or B-A-5 as strains that could be a cause for concern. While they may be a bit more transmissive than the original Omicron strain, because they're subvariants they won't cause more deaths or critical illness."

What we know so far about the BA-4 and BA-5 variant is that they spread some 12 to 13 percent more quickly than BA-2.
BA-2 accounts for more than 35 percent of all cases.
Both BA-4 and 5 are known to be much more contagious than the original Omicron strain.

Also a growing number of new infections have been traced back to the BA.2.12.1 mutation.
This strain is known to be one of the most contagious among all Omicron strains.
Only a week after it'd been first detected in Korea authorities found 19 people infected with this mutation.

Meanwhile, South Korea is continuing to ramp up efforts on the booster shot front.
Though the country has lowered its evaluation of the pandemic's risk levelit stressed the need to remain vigilant to reduce the number of deaths and critically ill cases.
In order to do that, authorities have asked the older adults to get a fourth vaccine shot.
But as of Tuesday, only 24.7 percent of those aged 60 and up have received a booster.
Shin Ye-eun, Arirang News.

#COVID19 #Omicron #BA4 #BA5
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