New coronavirus subvariant detected in Russia

The Russian health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has detected several cases of the new coronavirus subvariant Arcturus, raising worries of a new Covid-19 wave in the country.

Regional healthcare bodies were informed about the XBB 1.16 subvariant and the genetic sequences attributed to it were added to the database, the authority said in a statement.

“According to preliminary data, Arcturus may have greater contagiousness, but is not characterized by high pathogenicity. That is, the disease caused by it proceeds in a mild form,” it said.

Any anti-epidemic restrictions in connection with the detection are not required, the body said.

In general, the incidence of Covid-19 in Russia decreased by 19 percent compared to last week and amounted to 49,500 cases, and the omicron strain remains predominant, the watchdog said.

First detected in January, Arcturus is an omicron subvariant, according to the WHO and is fueling a recent surge of cases in India. It has since spread to multiple countries, and was designated as a new variant under monitoring on March 22.

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