Omicron Malaysia South African student South Africa Delta variant of concern VOC (Picture for representational purposes only) Healthcare worker Nik Zulia Asma Mohd Zaki conducting tests on the samples obtained during Covid-19 screening at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital. PIX: HAZROL ZAINAL / MalaysiaGazette / 21 MAY 2020. Delta variant of concern VOC Adham Baba infection rate viral load
(Picture for representational purposes only) Healthcare worker Nik Zulia Asma Mohd Zaki conducting tests on the samples obtained during Covid-19 screening at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.PIX: HAZROL ZAINAL / MalaysiaGazette / 21 MAY 2020.

By Kumara Sabapatty

PUTRAJAYA – A female student from South Africa has been confirmed as the first Omicron Covid-19 variant case in Malaysia.

Minister of Health, Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said that the case was reported by a 19 years-old female student from a private university in Ipoh, Perak.

The girl arrived in Malaysia from South Africa via Singapore on 19 November and she has gone for her RT PCR Covid-19 test upon arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

“Since the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the Omicron Variant of Concern (VOC) on 24 November 2021, the IMR started running PCR Genotyping Assay on all positive samples collected from the KLIA international arrival gate as an additional initiative to the whole genome sequencing (WGS) research.

“Therefore, the IMR has conducted the PCR Genotyping Assay on 74 Covid-19 positive samples detected at the KLIA from 11 November 2021 until 28 November 2021. The PCR Genotyping Assay was conducted to get a preliminary result on the variant type of the virus.

“Based on the PCR Genotyping Assay result, one of the samples (South African student) was detected to have high possibility of being the Omicron VOC. The next genome sequencing conducted on 2 December found that it was positive of the Omicron variant,” he said in a news conference on the development of Omicron today.

According to Khairy, the case was given the Surveillance and Observation Order under Section 15 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act (Act 342) and went for mandatory quarantine at an apartment provided by the university in Ipoh.

He said, her journey from KLIA to Ipoh was specially catered by the university.

“The case went for mandatory quarantine for 10 days at the accommodation, and based on investigation, she obeyed the order. The case also received full vaccination and was asymptomatic throughout the quarantine period and she did not go anywhere else.

“The Institute for Medical Research (IMR) has verified the Covid-19 positive test sample with CT Value of 26.68 on 20 November 2021,” he added.

He said, the student continued her isolation at the same accommodation for 10 days and was released on 29 November 2021 where her wrist band was cut at the Kinta District Health Office in Ipoh.

According to Khairy, close contact tracing has been conducted on all passengers in the bus and the driver, amounting to five persons.

Covid-19 screening and mandatory quarantine was conducted on them. The first and second samples on all close contacts turned negative.

He said, two students, who are also the housemates of the case have been ordered to stay at another house to avoid infection.

“The case completed two doses of Pfizer vaccine in Malaysia on 23 September when she was studying here, before she went back to South Africa to visit her family.

“We have called all eight individuals who have been identified as close contacts to the South African student; the bus driver, management staff of the university and two housemates for RT-PCR tests,” he said.

The Member of Parliament of Rembau also said that the Ministry of Health has also tracked the passengers on the flight who became close contacts to the case for further action. -MalaysiaGazette

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