PETALING JAYA: Following news that Singapore has detected two cases of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron, the Health Ministry is monitoring the situation closely.
Its director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said additional testing to detect the presence of the new variant would also be increased, on top of arrival and pre-departure testing.
"We are monitoring the situation closely and increasing the additional testing as announced.
"For those who are high risk, we will do the genomic sequencing test," Dr Noor Hisham said when contacted on Thursday (Dec 2).
The Singaporean Health Ministry on Thursday (Dec 2) reported that two imported Covid-19 cases had preliminarily tested positive for the Omicron variant.
Both cases were isolated upon arrival in Singapore on Wednesday (Dec 1), and had not interacted in the community, said the Singaporean health authorities.
On Monday (Nov 29), Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Health Ministry would be increasing genomic surveillance at the country's international gateways to ensure that the new Covid-19 variant Omicron could be detected quickly.
Malaysia had also temporarily banned the entry of travellers from countries that had reported the Omicron variant or are considered high-risk.
The travel ban so far applies to eight African countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, but Khairy said it could be extended to other nations where the variant has been detected.
On Wednesday (Dec 1), Khairy also explained that the government had taken into consideration if the Omicron variant cases were imported or community transmission cases before placing the countries on the travel restriction list.
Khairy said that the government was deliberating if they should impose temporary travel restrictions on the United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands and Australia following suspected community transmission reports involving the Omicron variant.
He said they would obtain more information on the status of cases in those countries and after completing a risk assessment.