According to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, public health experts have discovered the first incidence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the country.
He stated the index case was identified following a series of tests with COVID-19 on 74 people at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang between the 11th of November and the 28th of November.
He added that subsequent laboratory tests made the confirmation on the 2nd of December.
The index case involves a South African visitor who landed in Malaysia on the 19th of November.
“The case involved a 19-year-old, non-citizen traveller arriving from South Africa via Singapore on 19th November 2021 and has undergone COVID-19 RT-PCR testing upon arrival at KLIA, citing the non-citizen is a student at a private university in Ipoh, Perak and eight close contacts of the Omicron case will undergo PCR swab testing today.
Here are the 5 things to know in his statement during the press conference following the detection of Omicron:
- The positive case of the Omicron variant detected in Malaysia has completed the Pfizer vaccine injection.
- Travellers arriving at KLIA from high-risk countries will be fitted with tracking devices throughout the quarantine period.
- The movement of Omicron’s first case in Malaysia can be traced within an hour through MySejahtera and field interviews.
- Existing control system through quarantine, effective close contact detection to control other cases from occurring.
- Malaysia-Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) will remain open despite the detection of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in both countries.
Two imported COVID-19 instances of the Omicron strain were also reported by Singapore’s Ministry of Health, yesterday.
The Prime Minister’s Office stated last week that on the 29th of November, Malaysia and Singapore will commence both air and ground VTL between the two nations.
Fully vaccinated travellers can transit between Singapore and Malaysia under the land and air VTLs, however, they must undergo COVID-19 testing instead of serving quarantine or obtaining a stay-away notice.
Due to the new Omicron variation, Khairy has said that travellers utilising the VTL, both air and land, must now take COVID-19 self-tests on the third and seventh days following their arrival.
The results must also be reported using the MySejahtera app.
Since the VTL’s introduction on Monday, two COVID-19 instances have been discovered, one involving a traveller from Singapore and the other from Malaysia.