Health minister, Khairy Jamaluddin announced the detection of the first positive case of new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, in Malaysia today.
The positive case came from a sample taken from a South African student who entered the country on 19 Nov. The student underwent quarantine after she landed in Malaysia and found out that she was positive for Covid-19 the next day, 20 Nov.
This all happened before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Omicron a variant of concern on 26 Nov.
The health minister tweeted that the Omicron variant was detected only after conducting “genomic tests on all positive cases from KLIA between 11 and 28 November.” This was done to see if the variant was already in Malaysia, and surely enough it was.
Despite the news, Khairy stresses that the case is contained due to automated and manual contact tracing. The student who was Omicron positive also complied with their home quarantine.
Meanwhile, Khairy says that the “eight close contacts of the detected Omicron case will undergo RT-PCR swab tests today”.
The health minister advises us to be vigilant but calm during this time and shared insight on how the contact tracing was conducted in this case.
In a press conference today, he said, “Travellers arriving at KLIA from high-risk countries will wear tracking device throughout their quarantine period.”
As of 1 Dec, Malaysia has placed entry restrictions on foreign workers and international students from eight African countries with high risk of Omicron infection.
So far, the list of countries include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi.