Shocking news that Queensland has discovered a new Covid-19 variant, never before seen globally, was revealed on Wednesday, December 8 during a press conference held by the Queensland Government.
During Queensland’s daily press conference, held by the Queensland Government to relay the Covid-19 figures for the previous 24 hour reporting period, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, The Honourable Yvette D’Ath, announced that Queensland had recorded a case of Omicron in a traveller entering Queensland from Nigeria.
However, D’Ath also announced that another overseas traveller from South Africa has returned with a variant of Covid-19 which seemed quite similar to Omicron, but not identical. This new strain, comes from the same sublineage as Omicron and has been internationally recognised as a new variation of Covid-19. This variant will be known as Omicron Like.
“This is a new variant,” D’Ath said. “Remember, it’s only been days since this has become an issue for Australia and other countries.
“And now, today, we are standing here announcing a new version of Omicron and it’s a first in the world.
Queensland’s new Chief Health Officer Dr Peter Aitken revealed that the newly detected strain has “about half” the mutations that Omicron has, however, it is still unknown how these will affect the virus in the long term. Aitken added that as this new variation seems to have less mutations than Omicron, one of the differences between the two variants is that Omicron Like does not have the s gene drop out that Omicron has.
“This is going to lead to improvements in people recognising the potential spread in Omicron in all communities,” he said.
“We don’t know enough about it, as far as that means as far as clinical severity, vaccine effectiveness.
“What we do know is that Omicron is more infectious and more transmissible.”
D’Ath and Aitken both thanked the forensic and medical services teams for their swift action in determining this variation and getting knowledge about it out into the public so swiftly.