Health Minister confirms Omicron BA2 variant currently in transmission

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has confirmed the Omicron BA2 variant as the covid-19 variant currently in transmission in the country.

Minister of Health and Medical Services Dr. Culwick Togamana announced this in a Special covid-19 situation update this evening.

Health Minister Dr Culwick Togamana

Dr Togamana says the Ministry made the confirmation of the variants after results from 40 sample that were sent to Australia between April 6th to April 19th for genome sequencing returned today.

“From these 37 samples that we have results, 4 were delta and 33 (90%) were omicron BA2. I hereby officially announce to all of us, that genome sequencing has detected Omicron variant, specifically its B2 sub-variant as the new variant that is in transmission in country and has been the cause for the 2nd wave of COVID-19 infection.

There is evidence that Omicron BA 2 variant was in circulation on April 6 and is now the primary driver of the COVID-19 situation in Honiara. This result is consistent with my ministry’s suspicion and expectation of result outcome,” the Minister stated.

He said the omicron variant can cause many infections in a short period of time but it is less deadly compared to the Delta variant.

“This means while many people can get easily get infected with it, not many will be hospitalized or die from it. Many will return to negative more especially those vaccinated and recover from COVID-19 symptoms.

This is also consistent with what we are seeing at our National Referral Hospital whereas of today only three severe cases needing oxygen being managed out from total of 16 COVID-19 patients and 63 patients admitted for other health conditions but tested positive for COVID-19,” he said.

The Minister added that the current transmission of Omicron BA.2 is related to the increase of the virus as the public have not been observing covid-19 safe practices.

The Ministry urges those who are eligible to their Covid-19 2nd dose and booster shots as while vaccination provides less protection against contracting and transmitting the omicron variant compared to earlier variants, it can still provide some form of protection.

Meanwhile, Minister Togamana announced an addition 891 new covid cases as of his last update on Tuesday.
This brings the total covid-19 case count for the country to 15,677.

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