BA.5 Omicron to Be Dominant Strain in Japan by End-July

Society Health

Tokyo, July 8 (Jiji Press)--The BA.5 omicron coronavirus variant, which is behind a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Japan, is expected to replace the Ba.2 variant as the dominant strain in the country by the end of July.

Health ministry and other officials are on high guard because BA.5 is believed to be more infectious than BA.2 and to more easily evade immunity acquired by vaccination.

The BA.5 variant, detected in South Africa in February, was confirmed in Japan for the first time in May, at airport quarantine.

One of BA.5’s characteristics is high infectiousness. British health authorities said that BA.5 is likely to be spreading 35 pct faster than BA.2.

With BA.5 replacing BA.2 globally, the World Health Organization said Wednesday that the number of new COVID-19 cases worldwide rose nearly 30 pct in the past two weeks.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press