The BA.2 subvariant of ómicron is already in Ecuador, with the first five cases reported in southern Guayaquil, the country’s second largest city, the Ministry of Public Health reported in a statement.
The cases were reported on Tuesday by the universities that are in charge of doing the genome sequencing of the coronavirus samples in Ecuador and now these alerts must be confirmed by new analyzes by the National Institute for Public Health Research (INSPI).
Given these reports, the Ecuadorian health authorities have initiated an epidemiological fence on the contacts of people infected with this subvariant of the virus that causes COVID-19, while the patients are under the supervision of medical personnel.
The BA.2 subvariant presents 40 different mutations compared to the omicron variant, some of them in the spike, the protein that the coronavirus uses to enter the human cell, which makes it apparently more contagious, but at the moment “there is no evidence that it is more lethal,” according to the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health.
The appearance of BA.2 in Ecuador comes at a time when the incidence of the coronavirus is low and with a high percentage (77%) of the population vaccinated with at least two doses among its 17.7 million inhabitants.
Even from the Ministry of Public Health it has been indicated that, if this trend continues, it hopes to eliminate the requirement to wear a mask in public spaces in the coming months.
Meanwhile, the Health portfolio recalled that its epidemiological surveillance systems are still active; as well as the network of genomic sequencing laboratories to identify the appearance of new sublineages of the coronavirus.
It also has the necessary resources and hospital infrastructure to care for those infected.
The Ministry of Public Health also called on the population to go to the vaccination points and urged citizens to maintain biosafety measures, such as frequent hand washing, physical distancing and the correct use of the mask.
So far, Ecuador has registered a cumulative 850,765 confirmed cases of COVID-19 during the two years of the pandemic, of which it is estimated that more than 35,000 have died.
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