First Omicron case in Malaysia

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Public health officials have detected the first case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in the country, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced today.

He said the index case was confirmed after a series of tests conducted on 74 people with Covid-19 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang from November 11 to November 28.

He added that subsequent laboratory tests made the confirmation on December 2.

The index case is a traveller from South Africa who arrived in Malaysia on November 19.

“The case involved a 19-year-old, non-citizen traveller arriving from South Africa via Singapore on November 19, 2021, and has undergone Covid-19 RT-PCR testing upon arrival at KLIA.

“He is a student at a private university in Ipoh, Perak,” the minister said.

The minister said the student, and five others who were on a bus that had picked them up at KLIA, are currently in quarantine.

He noted that the student, who was asymptomatic, entered Malaysia before the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared Omicron a variant of concern on November 24.

On Dec 1, the health ministry imposed entry restrictions on foreign workers and international students from eight African countries with a high risk of Omicron infections.

Travellers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi will not be allowed to enter Malaysia for the time being.