Denmark says new omicron variant appears more contagious

Denmark’s health minister said on Wednesday that the newly identified BA.2 subvariant of the omicron strain of COVID-19 appears to be more contagious than the original BA.1 subvariant, which has become the dominant strain around the world, Reuters reports.

“There is no evidence that the BA.2 variant causes more disease, but it must be more contagious,” Magnus Heunicke said, according to the news service. 

Denmark’s leading infectious diseases agency, Statens Serum Institut (SSI), also reportedly said that it believes BA.2 could be about 1.5 times more contagious than BA.1. However, the risk of hospitalization from BA.2 so far has not been higher than BA.1, it added.

“There is some indication that it is more contagious, especially for the unvaccinated, but that it can also infect people who have been vaccinated to a greater extent,” SSI’s technical director, Tyra Grove Krause, said, according to Reuters.

Because of the spread of the BA.2 variant, the peak of Denmark’s omicron-fueled wave may extend further into February than was projected previously, Krause added. 

BA.1 accounts for 98 percent of global COVID-19 cases, but Denmark has seen BA.2 surpass the previous subvariant recently, reports Reuters.

Denmark still reportedly plans on ending the majority of its COVID-19 restrictions on Feb. 1, however, joining many other European countries. 

Tags COVID-19 Denmark Denmark Norway omicron SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant Sweden United Kindgom

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