PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has detected 13 new Variant of Concern (VOC) cases of Covid-19 – 12 South African and one Indian variants, according to the Health Ministry.
Its director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the sole Indian variant case was detected in Labuan involving a Malaysian while the South African variant cases were in Kedah, Perlis, Selangor and Johor.
"One case involving a Malaysian citizen was detected to be Covid-19-positive with the Indian variant B.1.617.2.
"The case is a close contact of an Indian citizen; both boarded the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Labuan on April 23.
"The Indian citizen was detected positive for Covid-19 during the quarantine period while the local experienced symptoms on May 3 and underwent the RTK-Ag test on the same day and was subsequently detected positive via the RT-PCR test on May 4," he said in a press statement on Tuesday (May 25).
He said the 13 new VOC cases were confirmed as a result of the genomic surveillance conducted by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) on Covid-19 samples from May 17 to 23.
"Up until now, the overall number of Covid-19 cases detected to be infected by the South African B.1.351 variant stands at 78 cases while the Indian B.1.671 variant (including sublineage B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2) stands at six cases," he added.
Dr Noor Hisham said that as was widely known, the new variants had a higher Covid-19 infection and fatality rate.
"In relation to that, the ministry will continue to beef up on activities to control the infections including by continuing genomic surveillance, increasing Covid-19 tests, conducting close contact screening and isolation of cases as well as other public healthcare measures in order to curb the new variants from spreading in the community," he said.
Dr Noor Hisham also reminded Malaysians to adopt self-lockdown measures and to stay at home if there were no important matters to attend to outside the home.