Mon, 08 Aug 2022

WELLINGTON, July 5 (Xinhua) -- The Omicron subvariant BA.2.75 has been detected in New Zealand for the first time as the country recorded 9,629 new community cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.

Analysis of whole genome sequencing has confirmed two cases in New Zealand with BA.2.75. Before testing positive for COVID-19, both cases had recently travelled to India, where this subvariant has been detected, the ministry said in a statement.

"At this stage, there is no evidence that BA.2.75 requires a shift in public health settings already in place to manage other Omicron variants," it said, adding that there is no current evidence that it leads to more severe disease, although assessing the evidence is at a very early stage.

BA.2.75 is a recently identified second generation subvariant of BA.2, the dominant variant circulating in New Zealand at this stage. BA.2.75 has only been recently identified as distinct from BA.2, and evidence on its transmissibility, immune evasiveness and severity is still preliminary and emerging, the statement said.

In addition, 47 new cases of COVID-19 were detected at the border over the past 24 hours.

Currently, 493 patients are being treated in hospitals due to COVID-19, including 11 in intensive care units or high dependency units.

New Zealand has reported 1,366,853 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic hit the country in early 2020.

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