Omicron BA.2 variant now in Jamaica

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie
Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie (Photo credit: Donald de la Haye, courtesy of Jamaica Information Service)

Reports from the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) have confirmed that the Omicron BA.2 strain of Covid-19 is present in the island.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the new strain is currently the dominant variant circulating globally. Worldwide, “the proportion of reported sequences designated BA.2 has been increasing relative to BA.1 in recent weeks, however the global circulation of all variants is reportedly declining,” added the WHO.

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The Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Jacqueline Bisasor-Mckenzie on Thursday 21April 2022 said, “of 89 samples sequenced between 1 January and 4 March 2022, two or 2.3 per cent were BA. 2 variant of the Omicron while 97.7 per cent were the BA.1 strain. But the CMO said, “the variant is highly transmissible and as a result, there may be an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. While majority of cases appear to be mild, persons with comorbidities are at risk for severe illness and no symptoms may be at risk for developing long COVID,” she added.

She encouraged the public to practice infection prevention and control measures, including wearing of masks, hand washing, physical distancing and staying home if they are sick.

The MOHW also reminded the public that vaccines are widely available.

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