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Covid: the BA.5 sub-variant generates a sixth wave in Portugal, an unprecedented situation in Europe


The Covid epidemic is picking up again in Portugal where the BA.5 sub-variant of Omicron has become largely the majority. A situation that could presage among its European neighbors.

Will Omicron’s BA.5 sub-variant hit France? Scientists are wondering about the skyrocketing epidemic in Portugal where this sub-variant has become the majority, as Le Parisien explains. This propagation of the BA.4 and BA.5 variants would be the beginnings of a resumption of the Covid epidemic according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

While the BA.5 represents two thirds of positive cases in Portugal, BA.2 is still predominant in France: it represents 98.7% of cases. However, BA.4 and BA.5 are under enhanced surveillance. “Their detection is still low but slightly increasing, according to the latest bulletin from Public Health France: 0.3% for BA.4 and 0.5% for BA.5.” We are far from the configuration of Portugal where the BA.2 has been completely supplanted.

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Number of positive cases rises from 650 to 2,500 in Portugal

The number of positive cases has thus fallen from 650 to 2,500 in a few weeks in Portugal. An exception in Europe underlines Le Parisien. Wearing a mask is no longer compulsory (except in transport and hospitals), but it is recommended in crowded places. For the Portuguese, no doubt, the sixth wave is here.

As so often, this sub-variant is even more contagious than its predecessor and above all it is able to affect people already infected with Omicron. Hospitals are not taken by storm: a sign that widespread vaccination protects against serious forms? Does this phenomenon, unprecedented in Europe, presage a generalized sixth wave? The coming weeks will tell. In the meantime, the epidemic is regressing everywhere in France with positivity rates ranging from 398 (per 100,000 inhabitants) in Brittany to 232 in Île-de-France.

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