First Omicron case detected in Malaysia, student from S Africa
Published on: Friday, December 03, 2021
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PUTRAJAYA: Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin says the first positive case of Omicron has been detected in Malaysia.

He said it was detected from a sample of a student from South Africa who arrived in the country on Nov 19.

On Dec 1, the health ministry imposed entry restrictions on foreign workers and international students from eight African countries with a high risk of Omicron infection.

Travellers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi are not allowed to enter Malaysia for the time being.

At a press conference today, Khairy said the results of the PCR genotyping assay test that came back on Dec 2 confirmed that it was the Omicron variant.

He said the case involved a 19-year-old female non-citizen who arrived from South Africa via Singapore on Nov 19 and had undergone a Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

“She is a student at a private university in Ipoh, Perak. The case has been given a Surveillance and Observation Order under Section 15 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act (Act 342) and (the student) has undergone compulsory quarantine at an accommodation provided by her university,” he said.

He said the student had taken a bus to Ipoh and close contact tracing had been carried out on the other bus passengers and drivers, totalling five people.

“They have undergone screening and a mandatory quarantine. The first and second sample tests on all close contacts were confirmed negative,” he said.

On another matter, Khairy said travellers arriving from high-risk countries at KLIA and placed under quarantine will be fitted with digital tracking devices.

He said travellers from high-risk countries arriving in Langkawi through its tourism bubble pilot project will need to undergo an additional RTK-Ag Covid-19 test on the third and fifth day from the date of arrival.

He also said despite the detection of two cases of the Omicron variant in Singapore, travel to the republic using the land vaccinated travel lane (VTL) will continue.

“I have spoken to my Singaporean counterpart, Ong Ye Kung, this morning. We reaffirmed that the VTL will continue and we will continue to update each other on a daily basis and coordinate our response accordingly,” he said.

On SOPs for the upcoming Sarawak elections, Khairy said they were almost finalised and only a few matters were being refined before they were presented to the Election Commission.

“But, definitely, this new development (Omicron case) must be taken into consideration, so the SOPs will be tighter to ensure it does not spread during the elections,” he said.

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