The emergence of new COVID-19 variants is expected to surface from time to time even though it is in the endemicity phase. As long as COVID-19 spreads, new variants will emerge, said Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar at the weekly press conference yesterday.
The minister reassured that the government will continue to monitor the situation.
He added, “The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided a portal, GISAID, that serves as a platform for countries to report their COVID-19 sequences in looking at the emergence of new variants, either it will be harmful or not.” The minister said no new variants can affect the health system provided the population of the Sultanate has a high vaccination rate.
“In our country, about 70 to 75 per cent of COVID-19 cases are derived from the XBB variant, however, with the availability of vaccines such as bivalent, it is hoped to provide more protection.”
Speaking about variants recorded in western countries, the minister explained that these countries have yet to have the XBB variants, which was why it could spread easily, especially during the cold season and cause flu, increasing the high rate of hospital admission.
“However, they also reached their peak points and gradually the cases were declining and not harmful unlike during the early outbreak of COVID-19,” the minister said.