B.1.1.529 new variant South Africa Botswana Minister of Health, Khairy Jamaluddin at a news conference on the National Health & Morbidity Survey (NHMS) studies 2020 at the Ministry of Health, Putrajaya. PIX: AFFAN FAUZI / MalaysiaGazette / 26 NOVEMBER 2021.
Minister of Health, Khairy Jamaluddin at a news conference on the National Health & Morbidity Survey (NHMS) studies 2020 at the Ministry of Health, Putrajaya.PIX: AFFAN FAUZI / MalaysiaGazette / 26 NOVEMBER 2021.Menteri Kesihatan, Khairy Jamaluddin bercakap pada sidang media mengenai mengenai Tinjauan Kebangsaan Kesihatan dan Morbiditi (NHMS) 2020 di Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia, Putrajaya. Foto AFFAN FAUZI, 26 NOVEMBER 2021.

By Mohd Zaini Samsu Hadi

PUTRAJAYA – The Ministry of Health has heightened the preventive measures and border control following the emergence of new Covid-19 variant, B.1.1.529, by now allowing Malaysian citizens to travel to several African countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

This decision will come into effect tomorrow, 27 November 2021.

Besides that, a temporary travel ban will be imposed on all foreigners with travel history to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Afrika Selatan and Zimbabwe within the past 14 days.

Returning Malaysian citizens and permanent residents from those countries are allowed to enter the country by undergoing mandatory 14 days quarantine at the quarantine stations, regardless of their vaccination status. They are also not allowed to undergo home quarantine.

Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said that samples will also be taken from individuals who arrived in Malaysia from those countries for genomic surveillance.

“MOH is aware of the news report on the new Covid-19 variant, B.1.1.529. At the moment, three countries have reported cases on the new variant, namely, South Africa (77 cases), Botswana (4 cases) and Hong Kong (2 cases).

“The first case was reported in Botswana on 11 November 2021, meanwhile, South Africa reported the case on 14 November 2021 and Hong Kong on 25 November 2021. The case in Hong Kong had travel history to South Africa,” he said in a statement today.

According to the report, the new variant has 32 spike protein mutations; twice the amount of delta variant.

There is no further information on the incubation period, symptoms and infection rate for the B.1.1.529 at the moment.

“Currently, the WHO is conducting close observation on the development related to the new B.1.1.529 variant,” Khairy said, adding that the MOH is increasing its genomic surveillance on individuals who arrived at the country from the countries which reported the new variant.

Based on the genomic surveillance conducted as of 26 November 2021, no B.1.1.529 Covid-19 new variant was reported in Malaysia. -MalaysiaGazette