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Malaysia discovers first Omicron case within its borders


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As expected, Omicron coronavirus variant is slowly but surely coming to Southeast Asia, Malaysia has discovered its first case of Omicron coronavirus variant in a foreign student who was quarantined two weeks ago after arriving from South Africa, the authorities said. Malaysian health minister announced yesterday.

Authorities had retested previous positive samples after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Omicron as a variant of concern on Nov. 24, Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.

The 19-year-old woman, who is asymptomatic, had been vaccinated, tested positive for Omicron coronavirus variant on arrival in Malaysia, via Singapore, and was then quarantined for 10 days before being released on Nov. 29, Khairy said.

Five other people who shared a vehicle with her prior to her quarantine all tested negative.

However, the Malaysian authorities, along with eight close contacts, have asked the student to undergo further testing after it was confirmed that her previous test samples were the new variant, Khairy added.

An increasing number of countries are reporting cases of the Omicron variant, which the WHO has said poses a very high risk of causing waves of infection.

Neighbouring Singapore confirmed two imported cases on Thursday.

This week, Malaysia temporarily banned travellers from eight South African countries that have reported the presence of the variant or are considered high-risk.

Yesterday, Khairy stated that Malaysia would immediately impose further restrictions, including additional testing for vaccinated travellers from Singapore, who are allowed to enter Malaysia without quarantine.

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