BA.4, BA.5 subvariants of Omicron discovered in HCM City

Ho Chi Minh City has detected three cases of BA.4 and BA.5, which are more transmissible subvariants of the Omicron coronavirus variant, via a random screening at a local hospital.

One case is in the outlying district of Cu Chi, and the other two in Thu Duc City.

The capital city of Hanoi earlier reported three infections with the BA.5 subvariant.

The Ministry of Health said the BA.2 subvariant is responsible for most cases and causes mild symptoms, but BA.5 could surpass the previous subvariants to become the dominant strain. In addition, new infections with BA.5 could rise in the upcoming period.

According to Phan Trong Lan, head of the General Department of Preventive Medicine, under the Ministry of Health, BA.4 and BA.5 are 10-13% more transmissible than the old variants of BA.1 and BA.2.

Covid vaccines can still be effective in preventing people infected with the new subvariants from severe illness, he added.

The Health Ministry advised people, especially those from vulnerable groups, to get vaccinated to build better protection against the virus.