Covid-19: Highly infectious Omicron sub-variants detected in Sarawak


KUCHING: Cases of highly infectious Covid-19 Omicron sub-variants have been detected in Sarawak, with the public urged to remain alert and get their booster shots.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak's Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) director Prof Dr David Perera said the first incidences of the BA.2.12.1 and BA.5 sub-variants were detected from a case in Kuching and Sibu respectively in the last week of May.

"Subsequently, an additional case of BA 2.12.1 and three cases of BA.5 were detected in Kuching in the second and third weeks of June," he said in a statement on Thursday (June 23).

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Dr Perera said the sub-variants were detected from the sequencing of 1,229 samples from positive cases statewide from March 1 to June 16.

He said all the sequenced samples were detected to be of the Omicron variant and sub-variants.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has flagged BA.2.12.1 and BA.5 as highly infectious with faster transmission rates than the parent Omicron variant.

Dr Perera noted that BA 2.12.1, first detected in the United States, continued to be the dominant driver of infections there, while BA.5 had caused a recent increase in Covid-19 cases in a number of countries.

In this respect, he urged the public in Sarawak to be aware of the heightened risk of infection.

"They are strongly advised to get their booster shot if they have not done so, particularly for individuals with comorbidities and those above 60 years old," he added.

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