December 2022 (data as of 3 January 2023)
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has focused efforts on a COVID-Zero policy during the pandemic, including stringent non-pharmaceutical interventions to control outbreaks. During December 2022, these measures were removed and the borders reopened. Concurrently, the media reported a significant increase in COVID-19 infections, which alongside limited data reporting from China particularly on circulating variants, has led to international concern on the current scale of cases and deaths.
The World Health Organization requested real-time data from China, and recent updates of genomic data suggest most of the variants circulating in China are BA.5 sub- lineages. Several countries have introduced pre-departure or post-arrival testing of passengers travelling from China including the US, UK, France, Italy and Australia. No travel requirements have been introduced for passengers arriving in the Cayman Islands.
XBB and XBB.1.5 are both sub-lineages of the Omicron variant. Samples were first identified in September and October 2022 respectively, and more recently an increase particularly in XBB.1.5 has been reported in Europe and the United States of America. XBB.1.5 has a growth advantage over other Omicron sub-variants, meaning that it can rapidly replace them, XBB.1.5 has been detected in 29 countries globally, but not yet in the Cayman Islands, whilst XBB has been detected locally. Currently there is no evidence to suggest that these variants produce more severe illness, or are more resistant to protection from vaccines, and strongly recommend that everyone in the Cayman Islands should make sure that they have received a dose of COVID-19 booster vaccine during the last 6-months’.
In the Cayman Islands COVID-19 data presents a similar picture in December as over the autumn months. There were 16 COVID-19 hospital admissions in December compared to 17 hospital admissions in November, although there was a slightly higher number of admissions in the last week of December. There were no COVID-19 patients admitted to the ICU or any who required ventilation. One COVID-19 death was reported in December.
Uptake of the Autumn Booster has continued at a similar rate in December to the previous month, with the highest uptake in 50-69 year olds.
Genomic sequencing of COVID-19 samples from October-November 2022 shows that the Omicron variant continues to be the dominant strain, specifically BA.5 lineages. XBB has been detected in the Cayman Islands, however is not a commonly detected sub-variant.
24 Sep, 2019
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28 Jun, 2019
18 Nov, 2019
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