COVID-19: New Omicron sub-variants found in India

People wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus walk through a market in New Delhi, India, Aug 11, 2022. (ALTAF QADRI / AP)

NEW DELHI / ISLAMABAD / MANILA / SINGAPORE / HANOI / YANGON – As India records a downward spiral in daily COVID-19 caseload, two new sub-variants of Omicron BF.7 and BQ.1 have been detected in the South Asian country, local media reported Tuesday.

"Maharashtra has reported cases from other sub-variants of Omicron – BA.2.3.20 and BQ.1 variant, which was detected for the first time in India on Monday from the sample of a patient in Pune," a report said.

The BQ.1 is a descendant of BA.5. Sub-variant BF.7 was detected by Gujarat Biotechnology Research Center on Oct 14.

In the southwestern state of Maharashtra, XBB, another sub-variant of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, has also been reported. The sub-variant was earlier detected in southern Kerala.

XBB, a recombinant lineage between two Omicron sublineages, BJ.1 and BA.2.75, is a fast-spreading variant.

Health experts predict a rise in the coming winter season in the state, especially in a festive environment. Maharashtra's health department and experts have asked people not to ignore flu-like symptoms and seek medical advice at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the Kerala state government on Monday said it was intensifying preventive measures in view of the new genetic variations of COVID-19, XBB and XBB1, being reported from other parts of the world.

On Tuesday, India recorded a single-day rise of 1,542 COVID-19 cases, the lowest in six months.

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Workers unload cases with 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Chinese government at Yangon International Airport, Myanmar, on Sept 9. (MIAO JUESUO / XINHUA)


Myanmar confirmed 515 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 629,376, according to the Ministry of Health on Tuesday.

The ministry said in a statement that the health authorities tested 13,638 people for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, and the daily positivity rate was 3.78 percent.

The death toll from COVID-19 in the country remained unchanged at 19,471 on Tuesday as no new deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, the ministry said.


Pakistan recorded 32 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the country's ministry of health said on Tuesday.

The overall tally of infected people increased to 1,573,435 with the new cases, according to data released by the ministry.

A total of 30,621 people had died of COVID-19 in Pakistan, with no new death reported in the country during the last 24 hours, according to the ministry.

A man shops for face masks in Divisoria, a local shopping district in Manila on May 17, 2022. (JAM STA ROSA / AFP)


The Philippines reported 1,196 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,986,028.

The Department of Health (DOH) said the number of active cases dropped to 25,039, while 34 more patients died from COVID-19 complications, pushing the country's death toll to 63,581.

According to the DOH, the Philippines has detected its first cases of COVID-19 Omicron XBB subvariant and XBC variant. DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said COVID-19 infections are expected to continue as new coronavirus variants emerge.

However, Vergeire said the country's COVID-19 situation is "manageable," noting that nationwide hospital admissions, especially of severe and critical cases, have plateaued. She added that the Philippines remains at low risk and vaccination continues to be effective.


Singapore reported 11,934 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total tally to 2,029,195.

Of the new cases, 731 were detected through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and 11,203 through ART (antigen rapid test) tests, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health.

Among the PCR cases, 716 were local transmissions and 15 were imported cases. Among the ART cases with mild symptoms and assessed to be of low risk, there were 10,837 local transmissions and 366 imported cases.

Five new deaths from COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday, taking the total death toll to 1,651.


Vietnam recorded 622 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, down 51 from Monday, according to the Ministry of Health.

Among the new cases, one was imported and the rest were all locally transmitted, said the ministry.

The newly reported infections brought the total tally to 11,493,894. The country reported one new death from the pandemic in the central Binh Thuan province on Tuesday, bringing the total fatalities to 43,158.