Covid-19: Omicron subvariant now dominant in Denmark

The new subvariant of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, BA. 5, is now the dominant form of the virus in Denmark.

Covid-19 test in Denmark.
Covid-19 test in Denmark. Case numbers are currently seeing a summer increase due to the emergence of the BA 5 Omicron variant. File photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke confirmed that the new subvariant was now responsible for the majority of new Danish Covid cases in Twitter post on Tuesday afternoon.

The subvariant comprised 32 percent of confirmed cases nationally last week. That share has since increased to 59 percent.

“(BA. 5) appears to have a transmission advantage compared to other variants but there is still no sign that it causes more serious illness,” the minister wrote.

Health authorities earlier stated they expected BA. 5 to become the dominant subvariant in Denmark. It comprised under 1 percent of cases around a month ago.

The reproduction rate or R-number for Covid-19 in Denmark is now 1.1. A value over 1.0 indicates that the virus is spreading. If it is under 1.0, the epidemic is receding.

Last week saw the reproduction rate exceed 1.0 for the first time since February, with that now maintained for a second week.

The prevalence of Covid-19 in the community remains at a low level compared to the early months of 2022.

Heunicke has previously stated that there is “absolutely no question” of Covid-19 restrictions returning in Denmark during the summer.

A plan for managing a potential wave of cases in the autumn and winter is expected to be presented by the government prior to its summer break.

READ ALSO: Danish health minister says further Covid-19 vaccinations could ward off restrictions

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Covid-19: Danish authorities ’not concerned’ after new subvariant detected

A new subvariant of Covid-19 has been detected in Denmark. Health authorities say they are monitoring the situation.

Covid-19: Danish authorities ’not concerned’ after new subvariant detected

The new variant was first detected in India around three months ago and has now been detected in Denmark for the first time with two confirmed cases, news wire Ritzau reports.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke confirmed the variant had been found in Denmark in a Twitter post on Saturday.

The variant, BJ.1, is a subvariant of the existing Omicron form of the coronavirus and was first registered in India on July 2nd. It has since been detected in four other countries.

“Two cases of the new Covid-19 subvariant BJ.1 have been found in Denmark,” Heunicke wrote.

“It is completely expected that BJ.1 would appear in Denmark and the State Serum Institute [national infectious disease control agency, ed.] is not currently concerned but is following the situation closely,” he said.

It is currently unclear whether BJ.1, also termed BA.2.10.1, can be expected to cause more serious symptoms than the current dominant form of Omicron.

“BJ.1 has more mutations to the spike protein than subvariants of the dominant BA.5, but the importance of these mutations is not known for certain,” Heunicke wrote.

The most recent infection trends report, issued last week by the State Serum Institute, stated that infection numbers in people aged 60 and over had increased during the preceding week. Infection numbers have been otherwise stable in all age groups in recent weeks.

Denmark currently only recommends a PCR test for Covid-19 for people at risk of serious illness who suspect they have the virus.

Last week’s infection trends report noted that BJ.1 was yet to be detected in Denmark.