Thailand reports first case of XAY.2 variant

Bangkok, January 6 (VNA) - Thailand has seen its first confirmed case of the XAY.2 variant of COVID-19 but people close to the patient were not infected, the Thai Health Ministry’s Department of Medical Sciences said on January 6.

Director General of the department Dr. Supakit Sirilak said the department had already shared information about the case with the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (Gisaid).

XAY.2 is a hybrid of the AY.45 Delta variant and the BA.4/5 Omicron variant. So far there have been 344 cases of the hybrid reported worldwide, he said.

The World Health Organisation has said it does not have enough data yet on the severity of XBB.1.5, or a clinical picture on its impact. It said it saw no indication that its severity had changed but that increased transmissibility is always a concern.

Supakit allayed concerns about incoming Chinese arrivals, saying that 97% of the new COVID-19 cases in China were of the older BA.5.2 and BF.7 Omicron variants, which do not spread any faster than COVID variants found in Thailand.

Meanwhile, virologist Yong Poovorawan said new COVID-19 strains from visitors arriving from western countries could pose a higher health threat than older strains from tourists arriving from China./. 

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