BF.7 in India: ‘China’s Covid situation different because…’ What experts said

Four cases of BF.7, the new variant behind the surge of Covid cases in China, have been detected in India prompting the Centre and the states to up their guards against the infectious variant. While the situation is worrying in China with millions of deaths being forecast in the coming months, India’s case will be different, experts are hopeful. All these four BF.7 cases were detected in past – in July, September and November. There is no active case of BF.7 in India.

Here are 10 points to know about BF.7 variant and the Covid situation in India

1. The BF.7 is not a new variant and is a sublineage of the Omicron variant BA.5.

2. There are 10 different variants of SARS-CoV-2 in India and BF.7 is the latest of them. Delta which drove the second wave of the pandemic in India is still there.

3. It is believed to have the strongest infection ability among the Omicron subvariants. One infected person can spread the Covid infection to 10 to 18 people, going by its average reproduction number of 10 to 18.6. Omicron, on the other hand, has an average RO of 5.08.

4. Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya held a review meeting and stressed the need for caution. People have been advised to bring back the masks in crowded places.

5. States have increased their surveillance and random testing of incoming international passengers will be stepped up again.

6. Experts have been emphasising that China’s condition is different because there was a stringent lockdown in China till last month owing to which herd immunity has not been developed.

7. Another factor cited by experts is the vaccines that China administered to its people. All of them were made in China.

8. There has been no increase in the number of daily or weekly positive cases even though BF.7 variant was detected as early as July in India.

9. Neither of the four BF.7 cases in India was serious. The patients recovered in home isolation and did not require hospitalisation.

10. Considering the Covid-19 situation in India, top health officials are of the view that it is time for caution and not panic as India is unlikely to see any new wave because of the 3-dose protection and herd immunity.