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Malaysia detects second case of Omicron variant

16/12/2021 07:04 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 -- Malaysia has detected the second case COVID-19 Omicron variant involving its citizen, an eight-year-old girl who returned from Lagos, Nigeria, on Dec 5.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the case was detected after the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) conducted the PCR Genotyping Assay tests on 52 samples from 52 positive cases among travellers returning to Malaysia between Dec 6 and 10.

“Of the total, only one sample identified the possible presence of Omicron variant and a further test involving whole genome sequencing conducted on the sample on Dec 14 verified it.

“This brings the cumulative total pf Omicron variant cases in Malaysia to two with both being imported cases,” he told a press conference at Parliament building today.

Elaborating, Khairy said the result of the RT-PCR test taken by the girl prior to returning to Malaysia with her mother and younger sister, was negative.

Khairy said upon arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), the girl and her family had taken the RT-PCR test and despite being asymptomatic, her test result came back positive on Dec 7 and was ordered to undergo isolation at home for 14 days.

He said the results of the RT-PCR test done on her mother and sister on the day of arrival, as well as on the fifth and eleventh day, all came back negative, while the result of the RT-PCR test on the taxi driver who drove them home from KLIA, was expected to be known today.

The RT-PCR test result on her father, who arrived on Dec 12, was also negative, he said.

“There were 35 contacts of the case during the flight, namely those seated in the four rows in front of and behind her, as well as on her left and right. Their RT-PCR test results on the day of arrival and on the fifth day all came back negative.

“The Ministry of Health (MOH), together with states health departments and district health offices are conducting further investigations on the contacts during the flight. Right now, the cause of transmission of the case is still under probe,” he said.

Meanwhile, Khairy said the results of the PCR Genotyping Assay carried out by the MOH found 18 other samples indicating the presence of the Omicron variant and this can only be verified by the results of the whole genome sequencing which are expected to be obtained tomorrow.

“These 18 cases are travellers from various countries. We will not announce the name of the countries until we get the whole genome sequencing results,” he added.


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