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Finland reports first Omicron BA.5 subvariant case

While the subvariant does not lead to serious illness, it does appear to be more contagious than previous Omicron variants.

File photo not related to BA.5 subvariant case. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

The first case of the BA.5 Omicron subvariant to be registered in Finland has been detected by a laboratory in the southwest of the country.

The Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology, attached to Turku University Hospital, reported the infection on Wednesday.

In a press release, the hospital stated that the variant was found in a Finnish citizen who had returned from a trip to Central America around the time of the May Day weekend.

Some 760 cases of the BA.5 variant have been reported across at least 19 countries worldwide since the first case was diagnosed in South Africa earlier this month. There have also been a few isolated cases in the Nordic region.

Current coronavirus vaccines have so far been found to be ineffective against contracting the variant, but early indications suggest the vaccine does protect people against serious illness if they become infected.