The BQ1 Omicron variant is expected to be confirmed in Cyprus, too, according to a government Covid advisor – but offered that it appears no more severe than those causing current infections.

Government advisor Petros Karayiannis said on Wednesday that BQ1 has been confirmed in Greece but does not expect the return of strict measures – despite a likely increase in cases.

He explained that the latest sub-lineages do not appear to be any more severe and therefore it is unlikely that the healthcare system will be too strained – requiring past restrictions.

“I think that we’ve become accustomed to being relaxed and it will be difficult to return to the situation we were in previously,” he told the Cyprus News Agency.

Karayiannis emphasised, however, that those over the age of 60 with underlying health conditions should continue with their vaccination regimen.

As for more details on BQ1, the ECDC stated on October 21 that: “Based on limited available data, there is no evidence of BQ.1 being associated with a greater infection severity than the circulating variants BA.4/BA.5.”

The ECDC cautioned, however, that countries should continue to monitor Covid-19 rates – especially in people aged 65 years and older – and severity indicators such as hospitalisations, ICU admissions, ICU occupancy and death.