Arcturus subvariant has landed in Malaysia


PETALING JAYA: A total of 12 cases involving the SARS-CoV-2 XBB.1.16 (Arcturus) viral subvariant have been detected in the country, says Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

Six cases were detected in Sarawak, four in Selangor and two in Kuala Lumpur, she said.

“The global risk assessment report stated that the risk of infections and ongoing cases because of subvariant XBB1.16 is lower than XBB.1.5,” she said, adding that as of April 2, the subvariant had been detected in 31 countries, including Malaysia.

The XBB.1.16 subvariant was first detected in the country in March, but the situation is under control and the nation’s health facilities are not under any pressure, she said in a statement yesterday.

Arcturus was classified as a variant of interest (VOI) on April 17 by the World Health Organisation.

Dr Zaliha said the number of new Covid-19 infections decreased last week to 4,817 cases from 5,149 the week before.

She added that to date, there have been a cumulative 18,319 cases involving variants of concern (VOCs) and VOIs.

She said the Omicron subvariant remains the most dominant in terms of infections.

Dr Zaliha reminded the public to practise TRIIS – test, report, inform, isolate and seek medical help if infected.

She also urged those who have yet to get their booster dose to do so as soon as possible.

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