XBB.1.16 has no heightened risk of severe cases, deaths: health expert
There have been no new severe hospitalized cases or deaths resulting from the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16 reported, despite the subvariant's considerable transmission and immune evasion capacities monitored in various countries, a Chinese health expert said on Wednesday.
There is also no indication of heightened severity in XBB.1.16 infections compared to other Omicron subvariants, said Chen Cao, a research fellow at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), at a press conference held by the State Council joint COVID-19 prevention and control mechanism.
By April 22, China had reported 57 locally transmitted cases of XBB.1.16 and its sub-strains. Based on Chinese monitoring data, the Omicron subvariants BA.5.2 and BF.7 remain predominant among local cases, and cases of XBB and its sub-strains have seen relatively fast growth, Chen said.
The China CDC will watch and analyze future changes of the virus closely, Chen added.
Mi Feng, spokesperson for the National Health Commission (NHC), said at the press conference that the stabilizing trend of COVID-19 infections in China has continued. He urged the strict implementation of response measures to ensure safe travel and a happy May Day holiday for the people, as International Workers' Day on May 1 is approaching.
To ensure sound medical services during the holiday, the NHC has ramped up its provision of fever clinics and treatment beds, shored up its supply of medicines and equipment, and enhanced its training of medical personnel and medical services by experts in clinics and on tours, according to NHC official Guo Yanhong.