WHO: new coronavirus variants loom

Portfolio
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday warned the world's countries not to be too sanguine about the coronavirus pandemic, as the threat of new variants remains very real.
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While the number of recorded cases of SARS-CoV-2 has now fallen by 90% from its peak in January, and restrictions have been lifted in many countries, it would be wrong to think that the pandemic is over, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a meeting of G20 health ministers in Indonesia.

The Director-General also spoke of his concern that the world will not learn from the mistakes of this pandemic and that the lack of caution will be repeated.

Representatives of the G20, the world's most industrialised and emerging economies, are discussing how to strengthen global health systems, harmonise procedures for coronavirus vaccination and standardise international travel documents. On Tuesday, health ministers will hold a joint meeting with G20 finance ministers to discuss a financial fund to finance the prevention and treatment of future pandemics, from private and public sources.

BA.4 and BA.5 now account for more than 21% of new cases in the U.S., according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates as of June 11. These two new subvariants evolved from the Omicron lineage to become even more contagious and can bypass immunity from a past infection or vaccination, experts say. This means people can be reinfected even if they had Omicron earlier this year.

Here’s what to know about the latest Omicron subvariants.

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