4 imported cases of BQ.1 and BQ1.1 COVID-19 subvariants in Singapore
These Omicron subvariants were first detected in Nigeria and have since been found in more than 50 countries.
SINGAPORE: Singapore confirmed four cases of the BQ.1 and BQ1.1 Omicron subvariants as of Sunday (Oct 23), all of whom were imported infections, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.
None of the cases was hospitalised, the ministry added in response to CNA's queries on Wednesday.
BQ.1 and BQ1.1 are sub-lineages of the Omicron variant BA.5, and were first detected in July in Nigeria. The strains have since been detected in more than 50 countries.
“While both currently comprise a small proportion of COVID-19 cases globally, the number of BQ.1/BQ.1.1 cases has recently been rising in parts of Europe and North America,” MOH said.
“Observations from those countries suggest that BQ.1/BQ.1.1 are possibly more transmissible than previous BA.5 sub-lineages, but there is currently no evidence that they cause more severe illness.”
Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that the subvariants make up 16.6 per cent of the total circulating coronavirus variants in the United States.
Both strains have spread quickly, particularly in New York, it added.
MOH said it closely monitors information about new strains and the prevalence of circulating variants in the local community and will provide updates should there be significant developments.