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15 Apr 2022

Australia Turns Vigilant after Omicron XE Variant Detected in New South Wales

The Index Today

Australian health officials are advising people to be on alert after a hybrid Omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected in the state of New South Wales.

According to The Guardian, the mixed variant, which is referred to as XE, is a fusion of the BA1 and the BA2 (“stealth Omicron”) sub-variants of the Omicron. The first confirmed case of the Omicron XE was found in a foreign passenger who landed in New South Wales on April 9.

While there have been no further cases of the XE, the requirement for compulsory negative COVID-19 tests before arriving in Australia was suspended on Monday, eliciting a fresh wave of concern over the possibility of a potential spread going undetected.

Although the BA2 variant continues to dominate cases globally, accounting for 97% of infections in New South Wales, initial observations of the Omicron XE seem to point at higher transmissibility, making it potentially more contagious than the “stealth” variant.

©Photo: Financial Times

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