New sub-variant of Covid-19 detected in Australian wastewater

A new sub-variant of Covid-19 has been detected in Victorian sewage as more than 46,000 new cases have been reported across the country.

Victorian health authorities are monitoring the new BA.4 or BA.5 Omicron variant after samples were confirmed from a catchment area in Tullamarine, north of Melbourne.

The subvariant has recently been detected in a small number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa, Botswana, Belgium, Denmark, the UK and Germany.

The World Health Organization says there are currently no known significant epidemiological differences between the new Omicron strain and the more dominant BA.2 strain.

“There is no cause for alarm with the emergence of new subvariants,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said in a statement this week.

“We are not yet seeing a major spike in cases, hospitalizations or deaths.”

It came as some 46,693 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Australia on Friday.

The national daily figure could be higher because ACT Health has not reported the territory’s case count.

There have been at least 34 Covid-19 deaths in Australia, while some 2,982 people are in hospital with the virus.

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