Updated: Khairy reports 1st Omicron case in Malaysia

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 3 – Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today disclosed that the first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has been detected in Malaysia.

Giving the details of the case at a press conference here today, Khairy said the case involved a 19-year old non-citizen from Africa who is studying in a private university in Perak.

The student had arrived in Malaysia on Nov 19 via Singapore.

Khairy said his ministry had detected the case through its Covid-19 infection prevention and control measures undertaken at all international entry points into the country.

He said since Nov 11, and even before the announcement of the Omicron variant by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Nov 24, the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) has been carrying out full genome sequencing tests on all positive Covid-19 case samples taken at all entry points into Malaysia, including the KL International Airport (KLIA).

He said a total of 74 samples of positive Covid-19 taken at the KLIA have been tested by the IMR from Nov 11-28.

Subsequently one sample showed signs of the variant Omicron and following further lab tests, the sample tested positive for the Omicron on Dec 2.

The student who tested positive had arrived in Malaysia even before the borders were tightened following the news of Omicron, Khairy said.

The 19-year old went through a quarantine period, while five people who were in close contact with him have undergone screening for the virus twice and have tested negative.

This is indicative of the successful approach the ministry is taking in its detection of Covid-19 cases including new variants, quarantine as well as contact tracing. So far there has been no cases of infection from this particular case.

Nevertheless, further contact tracing will go on, including those who had travelled in the plane, he said and this information will be shared.

Meanwhile, further tightening of measures such as screenings and quarantine involving travellers coming into the country will continue, he said.

— WE