4 cases of BQ.1 & BQ1.1 Covid-19 subvariants in S'pore, all imported

No evidence that they cause more severe illness.

Belmont Lay | October 26, 2022, 11:01 AM

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Singapore confirmed four imported cases of the BQ.1 and BQ1.1 Omicron subvariants as of Sunday, Oct. 23, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

BQ.1 and BQ1.1 were first detected in July 2022 in Nigeria.

The strains have since been detected in more than 50 countries.

They are sub-lineages of the Omicron variant BA.5.

CNA reported that none of the cases were hospitalised.

MOH added that the number of BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 cases has been rising in parts of Europe and North America, but they comprise a small proportion of Covid-19 cases globally.

BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are possibly more transmissible than previous BA.5 sub-lineages, but there is currently no evidence that they cause more severe illness, MOH said, citing observations from those countries with recorded cases.

MOH said it will provide updates should there be significant developments.

It is closely monitoring information about new strains and prevalence of circulating variants in the local community.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a week ago that BQ.1/ BQ.1.1 are spreading quickly, particularly in New York, and the subvariants make up 16.6 per cent of the total circulating coronavirus variants there.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control also warned then that the two variants may account for more than half the infections in Europe between mid-November and early December.

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