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Mainland detects first BQ.1 variant of coronavirus

By WANG XIAOYU | | Updated: 2023-02-19 11:26
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Patients receive treatment at the emergency department at Gansu Province Central Hospital in Lanzhou, Gansu province, on Jan 16, 2023. [Photo by Pei Qiang/For]

The Chinese mainland detected its first BQ.1 case — a variant of key concern — this week, according to information released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday.

Since December, the China CDC had identified 15 infections with emerging variants closely watched for their high transmissibility or immunity evasiveness, it said.

They include one XBB.1 case, one XBB.1.5 case, one BQ.1 infection and five BQ.1.1 infections, and some other novel strains.

Experts have said during previous interviews that the possibility of seeing another wave of COVID-19 epidemic is small in the next three to six months because of high immunity level across population at present.

From Feb 10 to Thursday, the mainland reported 98 COVID-19-related deaths at hospitals, including one caused by the infection alone and the remainder caused by a combination of COVID-19 and other preexisting illnesses.

That compared with 912 deaths reported during the previous seven-day period from Feb 3 to 9.

On Thursday, there were 20,000 hospitalized COVID-19 cases, down by 98.8 percent from the peak recorded on Jan 5.

Among all infections at hospitals on Thursday, 56 were severe cases, said the China CDC.

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