Second Omicron case detected, three close contacts tested negative — Khairy

Khairy: This brings the cumulative Omicron-variant case count in Malaysia to two. Both cases are imported from abroad. (File photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)

Khairy: This brings the cumulative Omicron-variant case count in Malaysia to two. Both cases are imported from abroad. (File photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 16): Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has confirmed that a second Omicron variant case had been detected on Tuesday (Dec 14) and that the government is stepping up control and prevention measures against Covid-19 for international arrivals at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

In a statement Thursday, Khairy said the second Omicron case was detected by the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) from samples obtained from 52 Covid-19 positive cases among international travellers who entered Malaysia between Dec 6 to Dec 10.

“This brings the cumulative Omicron-variant case count in Malaysia to two. Both cases are imported from abroad,” he said.

The second Omicron case was detected in an eight-year-old female Malaysian child who was living with her family in Lagos, Nigeria and had reported a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test result before departing for Malaysia.

The case was detected when the child, her younger sister and her mother had arrived in Malaysia on Dec 5 from Lagos after transiting through Doha, Qatar, but later reported a positive result for Covid-19 on Dec 7.

As the second Omicron case was asymptomatic, they were ordered to observe a Home Surveillance Order (HSO) of 14 days. The tests taken by the mother and younger sister pre-departure, arrival, on the fifth and eleventh day reported negative results.

Two close contacts were reported following the trio’s arrival in Malaysia, namely the child’s father who had arrived on Dec 12 and the taxi driver who had driven the trio home on Dec 5.

Both close contacts were also ordered to quarantine for 14 days, and the taxi driver is taking the RT-PCR Covid-19 test with no results at the moment while the father, who is currently quarantined in a private quarantine centre, had reported a negative result upon arrival.

Khairy added that there were 35 people who were on the flight in contact with the second Omicron case and that the RT-PCR Covid-19 test taken by them on arrival and on the fifth day reported negative results but the Ministry of Health (MoH) is observing the case and performing contact tracing on them.

All three had been issued a HSO in accordance with Section 15 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.

According to Khairy, the IMR had begun to carry out PCR Genotyping Assay tests on all positive samples from international arrivals at KLIA as an additional initiative to carry out continuous whole genome sequencing (WGS) research after the Omicron variant had been declared as a variant of concern (VOC) by the World Health Organisation on Nov 24.

Meanwhile, Khairy also called on the public to take booster shots to obtain optimum protection against the virus while living in the new normal and complying with the current SOP.

“MoH also wishes to announce that the PCR Genotyping Assay tests that have been conducted show that there might be 18 more Omicron variant cases which are awaiting confirmation from the WGS. We expect the results to be obtained on Dec 17, 2021,” his statement said.

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Surin Murugiah