Montenegrin epidemiologists have identified the first four cases of the so-called stealth Omicron subvariant, the local media reported on Saturday, noting at the same time that there is no reason for concern.
The national public health institute said the country has joined a list of 60 countries where that highly contagious variant has been detected, including countries in the region such as Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia.
“The World Health Organisation claims the new Omicron subvariant BA.2 is not a variant of concern, which means that currently there is no evidence that the new subvariant will worsen the transmission of the virus and the gravity of clinical symptoms, and reduce the efficacy of the existing vaccines and anti-epidemic rules,” Montenegrin epidemiologists said in a statement.
The number of active cases in Montenegro had dropped over the past two weeks from more than 3,000 to around 500, which is why the health authorities have decided to close two COVID centres in the capital city Podgorica, however, strict epidemiological rules remain in force.
The easing of the restrictions is demanded by restaurant and bar owners who have announced a protest for Sunday, claiming they have been suffering huge financial losses.
The mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors is still in force, as is a ban on gatherings with more than 50 participants. Bars and restaurants are allowed to work until midnight.