Botswana reports new Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5

Botswana has discovered the new Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, said a government official in a press release issued on Friday.

“Only one case of the Omicron sublineage XBB.1.5 has so far been detected in Botswana,” said Malepa Dibonwa, the acting spokesperson in Botswana’s Ministry of Health.

The new subvariant is a result of mutations of the already existing Omicron variant, which is dominant in Botswana and the rest of the world, Dibonwa said.

He warned that the new strain is easily transmitted and urged people to get vaccinated, avoid overcrowding indoors, and wear masks whenever possible. Those who are suffering from the disease should seek medical attention, he said.

Earlier this month, Botswana reported a single COVID-19 death, the southern African country’s first in four months after the detection of new subvariants of the COVID-19 Omicron variant — BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 — early last month. ■

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