PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has registered 123 new Covid-19 Omicron cases, bringing the cumulative Omicron-variant case count in the country to 245, says Khairy Jamaluddin.
The Health Minister said out of the 245 cumulative Omicron cases, 233 involved imported cases and the remaining 12 were from local infections.
"Based on the total number of Omicron cases reported, 157 cases, or 64.08%, involved Umrah pilgrims,” he said in a press conference Thursday (Jan 6).
Khairy said that the data has shown that the single biggest source of imported cases, Omicron or otherwise, was from Saudi Arabia.
“The data is clearly showing us that it is coming from one particular source. If the Health Ministry didn’t act on the data by postponing umrah pilgrimages, we wouldn’t be able to slow down the imminent Omicron wave,” he said.
The results of PCR Genotyping Assay conducted by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) on 1,774 Covid-19 positive cases among travelers arriving in Malaysia between Dec 1 and 31, 2021, also found that 1,220 or 68.8% samples were possible (presumptive) Omicron variants.
Of the 1,220 presumptive Omicron cases, 928 or 76.1% involved samples of travellers who had arrived from Saudi Arabia.
Khairy said during the final week of December 2021, the highest number of imported Covid-19 cases were confirmed to have come from umrah pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia.
Out of the 1,842 positive cases detected at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) during the period, 85% or 1,558 were from Saudi Arabia followed by Turkey at 84 cases, the United Arab Emirates at 50 cases and the United Kingdom at 47 cases.