New Covid variant poses no greater health risk than Omicron says ministry

Leszek Szymański/PAP

The new Omicron variant, known officially as XBB.1.5 or by its subvariant nickname, Kraken, is highly contagious but does not appear to pose a greater threat than the original Omicron, the spokesperson for Poland’s health ministry has said.

Wojciech Andrusiewicz told the Polsat News station on Wednesday that when it came to the emergence of the new subvariant XBB.1.5 of SARS-CoV-2, nicknamed Kraken, "there is nothing to fear."

Although the new subvariant was more contagious, it did not pose a more severe threat. "We do not have any serious cases, serious ailments or serious complications," he noted.

"In this aspect, Kraken is definitely less dangerous to us than the previous version of Omicron and all the previous ones," he pointed out. "Up to now, there are two cases registered in Poland, although there may probably be more as not everyone goes to the doctor to get tested."

Adrusiewicz also mentioned that according to the European Centre for Infection Control, Kraken "should be monitored" and that, as for now, it did not pose a serious risk to the EU or the whole of Europe.