Concerns after 181 cases of new sub variants reported in Thailand

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Health officials have spoken of their concern at the emergence of two Omicron sub variants in Thailand.

The discovery of more than 180 cases of the BA.4 and BA.5 variants have prompted officials to urge members of the public to get a booster shot.

Dr Supakit Sirilak, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences said that of the 400 samples sent for analysis, a total of 181 people have tested positive for the sub variants – 48 people who entered Thailand and 133 people who were infected in the country.

Most of the samples had been collected from Bangkok.

According to the World Health Organisation the BA.4 and BA.5 variants have been classified as variants of concern.

WHO says the variants can spread 1.5 times faster than other variants and the level antibodies produced by vaccines have been found to lower against them.

Dr Supakit also said that people who have previously been infected with COVID-19 can be reinfected with both variants, which is what has prompted the calls for people to have booster vaccines.