New Covid variants are sparking fresh health concerns as Omicron relatives XBB and XBB.1.5 have seen a surge in cases in countries worldwide.
XBB is a subvariant of the Omicron BA.2 variant, and XBB.1.5 is a subvariant of XBB.
The omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 makes up to 40.5 per cent of new infections across the United States, according to The Hill citing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC, the XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant as of this week has pushed out the BQ.1 and the BQ.1.1 subvariants from their previous positions as the most detected coronavirus mutations.
In November, China saw a record increase in local COVID-19 outbreaks. Due to the deterioration of the epidemiological situation, the authorities introduced partial lockdowns in some areas while also forcing their residents to undergo PCR testing on a daily basis.
In particular, starting from November 24, restrictive measures were tightened in a number of China’s major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.