Health DG: Mutated Covid-19 variant detected in Malaysia

Health DG: Mutated Covid-19 variant detected in Malaysia

The mutated variant of the Covid-19 that threw the United Kingdom into lockdown last month has been detected in Malaysia.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said one case of the variant UK B.1.1.7 was detected on Monday (Jan 11).

"The case was reported to be from a traveller who had a history of travel to the United Kingdom in December 2020.

"The traveller tested positive on Dec 28 and has been isolated for further treatment," he said in a Facebook post.

Dr Noor Hisham said since October last year, the Health Ministry has been monitoring travellers returning from other countries that have reported the variant including the Netherlands, Singapore, Turkey, Philippines and India.

A total of 968 samples have been tested since October and genome sequencing was conducted on 24 samples to detect the UK B.1.1.7 mutation.

"As of Jan 11, there have been no infections linked to the variant," he said, adding that the Institute for Medical Research and the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre will continue to monitor and observe the variant's mutation.

Dr Noor Hisham said while the variant did not cause any severe symptoms, it is highly infectious and spreads rapidly.

He advised the public to maintain high standards of hygiene and wash their hands often in addition to other precautions. - Tha Star