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North Macedonia logs first three ‘stealth’ Omicron cases

The Ministry of Health said Monday the Public Health Institute’s virology and molecular diagnostics lab had detected three cases of the BA.2 Omicron subvariant, which scientists believe is more contagious than any other version of the coronavirus to date.

Skopje, 14 February 2022 (MIA) — The Ministry of Health said Monday the Public Health Institute’s virology and molecular diagnostics lab had detected three cases of the BA.2 Omicron subvariant, which scientists believe is more contagious than any other version of the coronavirus to date.

Out of the total of 41 samples from people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 – including 13 from Skopje, four from Tetovo, four from Gevgelija, three from Veles, three from Kochani, three from Sveti Nikole, two from Negotino, two from Kavadarci, and one person each from Ohrid, Struga, Kumanovo, Strumica, Gostivar, Valandovo and Vinica — the BA.1 Omicron subvariant was found in 35.

The BA.2 Omicron subvariant was found in three: two from Skopje, and one from Strumica.

The BA.2 Omicron subvariant has also been described as “stealth” Omicron because it has genetic mutations making it harder to distinguish from the Delta variant on a PCR test.

The Delta variant (B.1.617.2) is still circulating in the country. It was found in the remaining three samples: two from Gevgelija, and one from Veles.

In two of the samples positive for Covid-19, the lab also found the Influenza H3N2 virus. mr/

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