If you think Covid-19 is gone for good and if you have dropped the guard against the coronavirus, you are mistaken. The super contagious BA.5 variant is fuelling a fresh surge in infections in Europe and raising fears of a new wave.
Dr Reda al Lawati, an Internal Medicine specialist, said that there was a noticeable increase in the number of people infected with Covid-19 around the world and expected a new wave of the pandemic.
In the Sultanate of Oman, health authorities are taking measures to keep Covid-19 at bay. The Ministry of Health recently called upon citizens and residents to get the third or booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine free of cost at the nearest health institution.
The MoH also made masks mandatory on the premises of health institutions and closed public places. They continued to warn about the necessity of adherence to preventive measures especially covering the face when sneezing and coughing. They continue to advise those who suffer from acute respiratory symptoms to stay at home and avoid gatherings and public contacts. People must avoid greetings with hugging, kissing, and shaking hands. They should also regularly maintain hygiene with sanitizers and soap and eat a healthy diet.
The Royal Hospital restricted the visitors to its premises. The visit is limited to two members of the patient's family and they must wear masks.
Covid-19 cases across the world have increased by 30 percent in the past two weeks largely due to BA.4 and BA.5 sub-Omicron mutants and other sub-strains following the lifting of travel and public health restrictions. “This increase in cases has put pressure on health systems in a number of WHO regions”, WHO said.
The Emergency Committee on the International Health Regulations on the coronavirus disease at WHO indicated, at its meeting held at the beginning of this month, that the course of the evolution of the virus and the characteristics of its emerging mutants are still uncertain and unpredictable in the absence of public health and social measures aimed at reducing transmission. It increases the likelihood of new, more capable mutants emerging, with varying degrees of virulence, transmissibility and potential for immune escape.
Therefore, WHO stressed the need to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus, through “responsible, consistent and continuous use of protection measures at the individual level, for the benefit of local communities as a whole; as well as continuing to harmonize public health and social measures at the community level, to go beyond binary “all or nothing” approaches.”
Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 were first identified in South Africa in January and February 2022, respectively.
BA.5 accounted for nearly 54 percent of the country's Covid cases as of the beginning of July, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A similar subvariant, BA.4, makes up 17 percent more. The two sub-variants also appear to evade protection from vaccines and previous infections more easily than most of their predecessors. The most common symptoms of the sub-variants are runny nose, sore throat, headache, persistent cough, and fatigue.
According to studies, it strategically evades the body’s accumulated defenses against previous versions of the virus. This means that cases of re-infection — even in newly vaccinated and infected people — are on the rise.