Vancouver: The BC Centre for Disease Control has detected Canada’s first known case of a new COVID-19 variant that has emerged in several other countries and is being monitored by the World Health Organization.

The centre on Tuesday said the BA.2.86 variant of the Omicron strain was identified in a person from the Fraser Health region who hadn’t recently been outside the province.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix said in a joint statement that there doesn’t seem to be increased severity with the strain and the infected individual is not in hospital.

The statement said BA.2.86 has been detected in the United States and elsewhere, after first being detected in Denmark last month.

Henry and Dix said it wasn’t unexpected for the strain to show up in B.C. and Canada, and the risk to people in B.C. “has not changed.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said the new strain may be more capable of infecting people who have previously had COVID-19 or have received COVID-19 vaccines, compared to previous strains. — Canadian Press

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