Uruguay's Health Minister Daniel Salinas Tuesday told a group of opposition lawmakers at the Parliament that the latest data showed a sustained growth of the BA.2 subvariant of the SARS-Cov-2 Omicron strain detected in the country since February.
The new Omicron variant, BA.2, already took 35% of the samples, according to the latest analysis of the genomic sequencing group, Salinas said.
It changed from variant BA.1 to BA.2, which is the one that is growing now in terms of the number of diagnosed cases, he added, referring to the survey carried out by the COVID-19 Interagency Working Group on Surveillance.
The opposition Broad Front (FA - Frente Amplio) summoned health authorities to Parliament Tuesday to ask Minister Daniel Salinas and his team about what they consider to be difficulties in the implementation of the health policy, mainly in services that are very sensitive for the people, according to Deputy Lucía Etcheverry, who stressed that explanations were changing from one day to the next, as patients were forced to wander through various medical centers to get their prescription drugs.
The minister is not a luxury spectator in this situation. He is a protagonist, he defines, controls, and has to correct the course, Etcheverry said. Less is bought and more is spent, she added.
All mechanisms available to the Ministry of Public Health are being used to ensure the quality of care and the continuity of assistance, Salinas explained. His team also pointed out that the medicines were available and denied any shortage.
Regarding COVID-19 the Ministry's latest report released Monday showed a 52% increase in the number of infections compared to the previous week: A total of 2,830 positive cases were detected nationwide between May 1 and May 7, mostly of Omicron in its different variants. Three people died this week against six in the previous seven-day period, while the number of intensive care unit beds used went down from 1.8% to 1.3%
Salinas, who wore a facemask throughout his appearance in Congress, insisted that the ministry will go on monitoring infections on a daily basis.
The BA.2 variant differs from the BA.1 in terms of its spike protein and, in the absence of studies, it is estimated that it will have a higher growth rate. This Omicron lineage is referred to as silent because it does not have the genetic marker that researchers had been using to determine, by antigen test or PCR, whether an infection was Omicron (BA.1) or Delta.