Latest BA.5 subvariant takes up 32.8 pct of Sarawak Covid-19 cases from June onwards

Covid-19 (file photo)

KUCHING, Aug 11: Studies have found that 32.8 per cent of Sarawak’s new Covid-19 cases from June onwards were caused by the highly infectious BA.5 subvariant.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) director Prof Dr David Perera revealed this in his latest report to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

From April 2 to July 13, Dr Perera said, 165 samples were obtained statewide and successfully sequenced, detecting 121 samples with multiple minor sub-lineages of BA.2, one with BA.4 and 43 samples with BA.5

“While the BA.2 VOC (variant of concern) continues to be the predominant detected subvariant over this period of surveillance, a rapid increase in the detection of the BA.5 VOC was observed.

“From early June onwards, approximately one-third (32.8 per cent) of all detections were of this BA.5 subvariant,” he said.

Dr Perera said this observation in Sarawak is consistent with the global distribution of the BA.5 subvariant, whereby many countries are also seeing a hike in detection rates.

In view of the surge in infections, he strongly advised individuals with comorbidities, those above 50-years-old, and those who have previously only received one dose of mRNA vaccine, to consider getting a booster dose immediately. — DayakDaily