It was reported on Thursday that a South Korean man, who has not recently traveled overseas, tested positive for the BA.2.75 or the Omicron subvariant of Centaurs. The new subvariant is known to be more transmittable than the BA.5 or another subvariant at the center of the current wave of the COVID-19 pandemic across the nation.
A man in his 60s living in Incheon, confirmed COVID-19 case reported on Monday, turned out to be infected with the Centaurs based on precise analysis of sampling according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday. It has not yet been found how he was infected with the BA.2.75. The first domestic patient with this new subvariant in South Korea is currently in self-quarantine for treatment. Given that he has not recently been aboard, it is considered that the Centaurs has already penetrated into the local community. Quarantine authorities have carried out an epidemiological investigation of those who had contact with the infected man. No additional confirmed cases related to him have not been reported yet.
Since the first case was discovered in India in May, the Centaurs has spread across around 15 countries including the United States and Britain. Overseas researchers found that it spread 3.2 times as fast as the BA.5 across India, assuming that the Centaurs produces more varied types of mutants than the BA.5, giving it more power than the latter to neutralize vaccines and natural immunization. Added to this, the World Health Organization has recently classified the Centaurs as a “variant under surveillance.”
With a concerted attack led by the Centaurs and the BA.5 targeting South Korea, concerns are growing that the ongoing wave of the pandemic will only escalate more severely than predicted earlier. The country has already stood guard even with the spread of the BA.5. As of midnight on Thursday, the daily number of newly confirmed cases in the country reached 39,196, which is 2.1 times up from a week earlier. The National Institute for Mathematical Sciences expected that up to 288,546 new patients will be reported a day by the next four weeks or around August 10. "If even the Centaurs spreads further, the COVID-19 situation will only get worse just as the Omicron variant and the Stealth Omicron jointly struck the country earlier this year,” Professor Jung Jae-hoon of Preventive Medicine at Gachon University College of Medicine said.
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