Prevalence of COVID-19 in China remains low despite rise in EG.5 cases
A hospital in Shanghai, August 19, 2023. /CFP
A hospital in Shanghai, August 19, 2023. /CFP

A hospital in Shanghai, August 19, 2023. /CFP

Despite the rising trend of variant EG.5 cases, China's overall COVID-19 prevalence remains at a low level, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday.

The proportion of EG.5-related cases in all COVID-19 infections has risen from 0.6 percent in April to 71.6 percent at present, and it is the predominant variant in the vast majority of provinces in China, said the center, adding that there is a high possibility that the trend will continue over a period of time.

The pressure brought by current cases on local healthcare systems is relatively low, and it is unlikely that large-scale transmission will take place in the short term, according to the center.

The World Health Organization (WHO) classified EG.5 as a "variant of interest" on August 9 due to "a steady increase in the proportion," but added the variant did not seem to pose more of a threat to public health than other variants.

"Collectively, available evidence does not suggest that EG.5 has additional public health risks relative to the other currently circulating Omicron descendant lineages," said the WHO.

As of August 17, the EG.5 variant had been detected in at least 52 countries and regions worldwide, showing a notable upward trend in the proportion in Asia, Europe, Oceania, North America and South America.

(With input from Xinhua)

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