The UK’s coronavirus alert level has been lowered from four to three as COVID-19 cases continue to decline, and even two rare types of Omicron variant subtypes have been reclassified as a form of concern.
Health authorities on Friday said the current BA.2-powered omicron wave is “samsiding” but it is expected that the number of cases will increase due to the BA.4 and BA.5 subtypes, which the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has classified to monitor their growth. Has been promoted.
The agency said it would continue to analyze growth as the full effect of the subtype remained “uncertain.”
Dr Mira Chanda, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, said:
“Although the impact of these variants is uncertain, the goal of the variant classification system is to identify potential risks as soon as possible. The UKHSA is conducting more detailed research. Data and analysis will be released in a timely manner through our regular monitoring reports, ”he said.
While the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are in the early stages of growth in the UK, an analysis of the available data suggests that they have the advantage over the currently dominant Omicron BA.2 variants.
There may be several reasons for the benefit of growth, but in the case of BA.4 and BA.5, laboratory data indicate a degree of immune escape that could contribute, experts believe.
As of Thursday, the UKHSA said 115 confirmed cases of BA.4 and 80 cases of BA.5 were found in the UK.
While it is expected that variants may contribute to the increase in the number of cases, there is nothing to indicate increased levels of severity.
“Current BA.2 driven omicon waves are decreasing. Direct Covid-19 healthcare pressures continue to decline across all countries and the positive outlook for the ONS community continues to decline, ”the health chiefs of all parts of the UK said in a joint statement on Friday.
“While it is reasonable to expect the number of cases to increase due to BA.4, BA.5 or BA2.12.1, it is unlikely to lead to significant direct covid pressure in the immediate future. It will continue to be reviewed, “they said.
The last warning level was raised in December last year as the Omicron variant spread rapidly.
The country’s coronavirus infection is now thought to be at a five-month low, according to a recent Community-Based Analysis by the Office for National Statistics.