The Ministry of Public Health on Thursday announced detecting new cases of the new COVID-19 variant, clarifying that the recorded cases were minor cases and did not lead to hospitalization at this point.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said in a statement today that it was closely monitoring the epidemiological situation in relation to the new COVID-19 sub-variants.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new sub-variant of COVID-19, called EG.5, a variant of interest. The sub-variant is an off shoot of the highly contagious Omicron variant and has to date been reported in more than 50 countries, including the Gulf region.
In addition to EG.5, another variant, BA.2.86 has been reported in several countries including the USA, England and Denmark and this virus is significant because it has multiple genetic difference from previous versions of the virus. However, there is no evidence so far of increased spread or hospitalizations in those countries, but more data is being accumulated.
Qatar's Ministry of Public Health continues to monitor the situation and test samples in the country for this new variant, the statement said.
According to the WHO, there is no evidence that the new sub-variants cause more severe symptoms and illness than Omicron or other variants in circulation. However, due to the speed at which the new sub-variant can transmit from person-to-person, the Ministry stressed the importance of individuals at high risk of severe infection following standard precautionary measures including wearing a mask when in crowded places, regular hand hygiene and keeping a safe distance between yourself and others.
MoPH also recommended that people who experience COVID-19 symptoms get tested for the infection and seek treatment if they are at increased risk for severe disease. Patients with the following symptoms are advised to seek medical assessment and possible treatment: fever of 38C or higher, chills, fatigue and body aches, cough with chest pain, and shortness of breath.
The Ministry stated that those individuals most at risk include people 60 years of age and older and those with chronic medical conditions.