Covid-19: Health Ministry investigating whether Sivagangga cluster linked to mutated virus strain

  • Nation
  • Monday, 10 Aug 2020

PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry is waiting for lab results to see if the Covid-19 Sivagangga cluster was caused by the deadly D614G mutated strain of the virus.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this type of mutated or “super-spreader” strain of the virus may increase infectivity by more than 10 times.

“In July, a ‘superbug’ was identified; the virus has mutated to D614G mutation - that is the latest mutation. The mutation in the virus could increase the infectivity by more than 10-fold, ” he said in a press conference on Monday (Aug 10).

He said the Institute of Medical Research in Malaysia is studying the virus from the Sivagangga cluster to determine what strain it is and whether it is a mutated strain of the virus.

“In about a week, we can see the genomic sequence, whether there is a mutation (of the virus) or not.

“However, we have managed to control the spread of Covid-19 in Kedah, Perlis and Penang.What is most important is to ramp up border control. The D614G strain has been reported in Europe and other countries.

“So the important thing is we must be alert and take proactive steps to control our borders.

“Every individual who returns from overseas - whether a Malaysian citizen, permanent resident or those who enter our country with permission - must go through the Covid-19 test and mandatory quarantine at the quarantine centres, ” he said.

Describing a type of mutated virus as a “superbug”, he said “super-spreaders” could refer to infected people who are at risk of infecting others.

“Those who infect others are the ones who don’t follow the standard operating procedures, so we identify them as ‘super-spreaders’, ” he said.

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