Covid-19: MOH closely monitoring WHO, other countries on Omicron variant

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (The Edge filepix by Zahid Izzani)

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (The Edge filepix by Zahid Izzani)

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KAPAR: The Health Ministry (MOH) is constantly monitoring reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO), as well as other countries on the new Covid-19 B.1.1.529 variant, now named Omicron. 

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said continuous tracking of developments would help the ministry impose travel restrictions to any country, if necessary.

“So we are looking at this variant every day and the travel history of those tested positive for this variant,” he told reporters at the handover ceremony and handover of the Kapar Health Clinic here on Saturday (Nov 27).

“If MOH’s risk assessment shows that a country's risk has increased, then MOH will put the country on a red list and restrictions could be imposed," he said, adding that so far no Omicron cases have been detected in Malaysia.

On Friday (Nov 26), Khairy announced that Malaysians have been banned from travelling to seven countries, namely South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe following the emergence of the new Covid-19 strain.

Khairy said it was an effort by the government to enhance border prevention and control measures, including for travellers arriving at the country's entry points, effective Sunday (Nov 28).

He said three countries have reported Omicron-related cases so far, namely South Africa with 77 cases, Botswana (4) and Hong Kong (2).