Omicron sub-variant may be more contagious: Bangladesh health officials

There has been a rise in cases involving a sub-variant named BA.2, which has several different mutations from the original.


The capital’s New Market swarming with people, most of whom seem to be oblivious to health safety rules, including social distancing, while the third wave of Covid-19 rages on due to the Omicron variant. The photo was taken yesterday. PHOTO: ANISUR RAHMAN

February 3, 2022

DHAKA – Health officials have urged people to follow health safety rules strictly as the World Health Organization said the new sub-variant of Omicron, already detected in 57 countries, may be even more contagious.

“There is no alternative to abiding by the health protocols to stay safe,” DGHS spokesperson Dr Md Nazmul Islam said at the daily briefing on the Covid-19 situation yesterday.

In its weekly epidemiological update on Tuesday, the WHO said the variant, which accounts for over 93 percent of all coronavirus specimens collected in the past month, has several sub-lineages: BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2 and BA.3.

The BA.1 and BA.1.1 — the first versions identified — still account for over 96 percent of all the Omicron sequences uploaded to the Gisaid, a global science initiative based in Munich, it said.

There has, however, been a clear rise in cases involving BA.2, which counts several different mutations from the original, including on the spike protein that dots the virus’ surface and is key to entering human cells.

“BA.2 designated sequences have been submitted to Gisaid from 57 countries to date,” the WHO said, adding that in some countries, the sub-variant now accounted for over half of all the Omicron sequences together.

Pointing to the new sub-variant, Dr Nazmul said it is necessary to act responsibly.

The pressure on the ICUs, HDUs and oxygen supplies in hospitals will increase with the rise in the number of patients. “We’re preparing to tackle this pressure.”

Central oxygen lines have already been set up in 119 hospitals and more than 29,000 oxygen cylinders, 2,000 high-flow nasal cannulas and 2,300 oxygen concentrators are being used, he said.

“If we look at the Covid-linked deaths according to age, the highest number was reported among people aged 61-70.”

Division-wise, the highest number of deaths — 12,451 — were reported in Dhaka – more than 43.80 percent of all Covid-related deaths.

Nazmul also said efforts are being made to find out how many among the dead were vaccinated and how many were not.

In January, the country reported 322 Covid deaths and 73% of them were of unvaccinated patients, said Nazmul.

Meanwhile, 36 Covid-19 patients died in the 24 hours till 8:00am yesterday — the highest since September 22 last year.

During the same period, the DGHS has also reported 12,193 confirmed cases.

The positivity rate was recorded 27.43 percent after testing 44,451 samples countrywide.

scroll to top