Coronavirus BA.2 variant suspected in Guyana – Minister Anthony

While the omicron variant was the dominant COVID-19 strain earlier this year, its subvariant known as BA.2 now accounts for the majority of coronavirus cases globally.

Due to the signs and symptoms of affected COVID-19 patients in Guyana, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony M.P., said it is possible that the variant is circulating in the country.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony, MP

The minister was speaking during Friday’s COVID-19 update.

“What we’ve seen in the Americas is the circulation of the BA.2 (variant)…so that is something we probably have here in Guyana. It’s much milder, but it’s more transmissible.

It can cause hospitalisation especially for persons who are older and unvaccinated, and we are seeing a few cases of persons getting sick and requiring hospitalisation,” Dr. Anthony said.

BA2 is a subvariant of Omicron.

He noted that the ministry will be sending samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing.

“We would like to confirm which variant is circulating, so obviously we’ll be taking samples and trying to verify with CARPHA and other institutions what variants are circulating.”

The minister is meanwhile urging those still unvaccinated to get inoculated, especially those with comorbidities.

There are currently 638 active cases across the country, with Region Four being the hotspot region. 

Get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Dr. Anthony noted that the number of positive cases might be “under represented” stating that, “I think it’s an under representation of what is happening in the country because there are people who might be testing, and they’re not reporting to us, because there’re lots of self-testing kits that are available to people,” he said.

Persons are reminded to wear a facemask in indoor spaces, ensure proper ventilation and get vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of Friday, 86.1 percent of the adult population took the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while 66.6 percent has been fully vaccinated.