Covid-19: Rapid rise in cases sees BA.5 subvariant gaining dominance in Sarawak

KUCHING: Sarawak has detected a rapid increase of Covid-19 infections from the BA.5 Omicron subvariant in recent months.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak's Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) director Prof Dr David Perera said the subvariant accounted for 32.8% of all positive cases in the state from early June onwards.

He said a total of 165 samples obtained statewide were sequenced from April 2 to July 13, all of which were detected to be from the Omicron variant of concern.

From these samples, 121 were multiple minor sublineages of the BA.2 subvariant, 43 of the BA.5 subvariant and one first reported case of the BA.4 subvariant.

"While BA.2 continues to be the predominant detected subvariant over this period of surveillance, a rapid increase in the detection of the BA.5 subvariant was observed.

"This is consistent with the global distribution of this highly infectious Omicron subvariant, which has seen a rapid increase in detection rate in many countries, leading to a surge in infections," Dr Perera said in a statement on Thursday (Aug 11).

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

"Please consider getting a booster dose if you have not done so, particularly for individuals with comorbidities, those above 50 years and those who have received only a single dose of an mRNA vaccine," he added.

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