Khairy: Health Ministry will step up genomic surveillance to detect Omicron variant

SHAH ALAM: The Health Ministry (MOH) will increase genomic surveillance at the country's international gateways to ensure that the new Covid-19 variant Omicron can be detected quickly, says its minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said so far the government had managed to increase full genome sequence analysis capacity to 1,500 samples a month.

"With the existence of this variant of concern (VOC), I will apply to the Finance Ministry to provide an additional allocation so that we can further increase the Health Ministry's capacity to implement genomic surveillance," he told a press conference after attending the National Health Institute Covid-19 Staff Appreciation Ceremony, here on Monday (Nov 29).

He said full genomic sequencing was important because through this way, MOH would be able to detect the types of variants present in Malaysia.

"Through full genomic sequencing, we detected the Delta variant in Malaysia and this method is important to find out if the new variant Omicron also exists in Malaysia," he said.

"To date, through the Health Ministry, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the Ministry of Higher Education, which formed a consortium to increase Covid-19 genome sequencing capacity, have not yet received reports on the Omicron variant in Malaysia," he said. - Bernama

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