Mild Omicron subvariant case detected in Egypt, says health minister

Ahram Online , Monday 2 Jan 2023

Egypt has detected its first case of a highly infectious but mild Omicron subvariant, the country’s Minister of Health and Population Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said in TV remarks on Sunday evening.

Health Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar
Health Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar


“We detected a case [of the new variant] in a 50-year-old individual. It displayed mild symptoms,” the minister told TV channel Sada El-Balad, while offering assurances that the country is not facing an increase in the number of covid cases.

Abdel-Ghaffar did not specify whether the case was an Egyptian national or a foreigner, or when it was detected.

The new variant, Abdel-Ghaffar said, is highly contagious like Omicron and exists in many countries and not onlyn in China but it does not have serious effects.

It manifests in symptoms such as cough, fatigue, runny nose and fever and lasts between four days to one week, he pointed out.

Abdel-Ghaffar did not specify whether the subvariant detected in Egypt was the same XBB subvariant that has been behind a recent surge in cases worldwide, most notably China.

Several countries imposed Covid-19 tests on travellers from China as Beijing eased the travel restrictions even though the country sees a new wave of outbreak in cases.

Abdel-Ghaffar urged the public to abide by preventive measures since the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not announced the end of the pandemic so far.

In recent months, no new Covid-19 cases or deaths were reported.

The pandemic took a heavy toll on Egyptians in 2020-2021.

The number of  those who contracted COvid reached 515,475 cases and death toll at 24,800 as per the latest update on the pandemic issued by the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region Office (EMRO).

Some 38 percent of Egypt’s population is fully vaccinated, according to EMRO.

The pandemic status is stable in Egypt, the health minister said, adding “we are in the best period in three years. We have always faced a peak in coronavirus cases in December but the situation is stable.”

The minister also said that even the number of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases, which were on the rise during November and October especially among school students, has started to noticeably subside.

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