The COVID outbreak in mainland China is getting worse and spreading fast, and experts think it will be at its worst in a month. In 9 Chinese provinces, they have found local cases of the new COVID-19 mutant strain Omicron BQ.1.

According to China’s Disease Control and Prevention’s Weibo account on Tuesday, December 13, BQ.1 is the sixth generation of the subclade Omicron BA.5. BQ.1.1 is the first branch of it.

The paper says that these strains are less dangerous to humans. It causes less severe illness and death than earlier epidemic strains and mutant strains.

The paper said that 49 local cases of BQ.1 and its offshoots have been found in 9 provinces on the mainland. However, they haven’t spread very far yet, so the number of cases is still small. At this stage, BA. 5’s subclades BA.5.2 and BF.7 still make up the dominant strains. 

Luo Yijun is the deputy head of the medical response team at the Central Epidemic Command Center. He told Taiwanese media that BQ.1 is very contagious but has the same danger and fatality rate as other Omicron strains.

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