New COVID sub-variant reaches Australia

A new COVID-19 sub-variant has been detected in Victorian wastewater as more than 46,000 new cases were reported across the country.

Victorian health authorities are monitoring the new BA.4 or BA.5 Omicron variant after samples were confirmed in a Tullamarine catchment, north of Melbourne.

The sub-variant has been recently detected in a small number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa, Botswana, Belgium, Denmark, the UK and Germany.

The World Health Organisation says there are currently no known significant epidemiological differences between the new Omicron strain and the more dominant BA.2 strain.

“There is no cause for alarm with the emergence of the new sub-variants,” WHO regional director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said this week in a statement.

“We are not yet observing a major spike in cases, hospitalisations or deaths.”

It came as some 46,693 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Australia on Friday.

The national daily figure could be higher as ACT Health did not report the territory’s case numbers.

There were at least 34 COVID-19 deaths in Australia, while some 2982 people are in hospital with the virus. 


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