The BA.5 subvariant accounted for 32.8 per cent or one-third of the COVID-19 cases in Sarawak from June onwards, according to the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM).
The matter was disclosed in a report submitted to State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas here.
UNIMAS IHCM director Prof Dr David Perera said from April 3 to July 13 this year a total of 165 samples obtained statewide had been successfully sequenced, all of which were detected as the B.1.1.529, Omicron Variant of Concern(VOC).
He said from these samples, 121 were detected as multiple minor sub-lineages of BA.2, a single case and first reported of BA.4 case and 43 samples with BA.5.
“While the BA.2 VOC continues to be the predominant detected subvariant over this period of surveillance, a rapid increase in infections of the BA.5 VOC was observed.
“From early June onwards, approximately one third (32.8 per cent) of all detections were of this subvariant (BA.5),” he said.
Dr Perera added this observation in Sarawak was consistent with the global distribution of this highly infectious Omicron VOC which has seen a rapid increase in detection rate in many countries.
“In view of this, the public is strongly advised to be aware of the heightened risk of increase in infection rate in the state.
“Please consider getting a booster dose if you have not done so particularly for individuals with comorbidities and those above 50 years old,” he added. – Bernama