Covid-19: Sarawak detects six cases of Arcturus subvariant

KUCHING: Sarawak has detected six Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16, also known as Arcturus.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak's Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) director Prof Dr David Perera disclosed this in his latest report to Sarawak disaster management committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas on Thursday (April 20).

"Given the detection of the Arcturus variant in the state, the public is strongly advised to be aware of the heightened risk of increased infection rate.

"Everyone must take the necessary precautions to avoid infection and prevent the spread to vulnerable individuals, particularly during the coming festive season," Dr Perera said.

He said the Arcturus variant was responsible for the recent rise in positive cases in India and other countries.

The World Health Organisation has categorised it as a variant under monitoring due to its potential for increased infectivity and pathogenicity.

Dr Perera also said 12 cases of the XBB.1.11.1 variant had been detected in the state.

He said IHCM, which is tracking the variants of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) circulating in Sarawak, successfully sequenced 33 samples between Feb 20 and April 13 this year.

"The Omicron variant of concern remains the dominant circulating variant with several different XBB.1 subvariants," he said.

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