Canada is seeing an increase in several fast-spreading COVID-19 variants that have been fuelling new outbreaks in the United States and Europe, Canada’s top doctors said Friday.
The BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the virus, which are subvariants of Omicron, have been detected in Canada since May, and the BA.2.12 subvariant has been showing growth in the country since March.
On Friday, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, made note of the rise in the number of these cases in the country and said that these subvariants have “demonstrated a growth advantage and additional immune escape” over Omicron and other strains of the virus. “COVID-19 has shown us over the past few years that there may be more surprises ahead,” Tam said during the briefing. “The virus is still circulating in Canada and internationally, and factors such as viral evolution and waning immunity are anticipated to impact COVID-19 activity moving forward.” Read more: BA.4, BA.5 in Canada: What we know about the 2 new Omicron subvariants The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are estimated to make up about 8.3 per cent and 13.3 per cent of the coronavirus variants in the United States as of June 11, the U.S.