Jamaica could face an increase in Covid-19 cases as the Ministry of Health warns that two more variants of the virus have been identified on the island.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Health, the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of the coronavirus have been introduced to the population.

Chevon Campbell tells us more.

The health ministry says the latest gene sequencing performed at the University of the West Indies identified the presence of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants.

Eighty-seven samples were sequenced with sample dates from May 13 to July 11. All were identified as the Omicron variant.

Of the 87 samples, eight or nine per cent of total samples were BA.5. Five samples or six per cent of the total were BA.4.

National epidemiologist, Dr. Karen Webster Kerr, cautioned that these are highly transmissible and could increase the country’s caseload.

The national epidemiologist says the new sub-variants are on track to become the dominant strain in the country replacing the Omicron BA2.

She’s encouraging the public to practice infection prevention and control measures, including wearing masks, hand washing, physical distancing and staying home if sick.

Dr. Webster Kerr is also reminding the public that vaccination can prevent serious illness and death.