KUCHING: Cases of the highly infectious Covid-19 Omicron variants, namely the BA.2.12.1 and BA.5, have been detected in Sarawak recently, according to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM).
IHCM director David Perera disclosed this in his report to state disaster management committee chairman Douglas Uggah Embas.about:blank
He said 1,229 samples of positive cases were successfully sequenced from March 1 to June 16.
“All were detected as the Omicron variant of concern (VOC). These samples represented positive cases obtained statewide,” he said in a statement.
Perera said the samples showed that the BA.2 variant continued to be dominant, with its multiple minor sub-lineages detected.
“However, in the last week of May, we detected the first incidences of the highly infectious BA.2.12.1 from a case in Kuching and a BA.5 from a case in Sibu.
“Subsequently, an additional case of BA.2.12.1 and three cases of BA.5 were detected in Kuching through the second and third weeks of June.
“The World Health Organization previously flagged both these sub-lineages as being highly infectious with faster transmission rates compared to the parent Omicron VOC,” he said.
Perera said in light of this development, the public should be aware of the heightened risk due to an increase in infection rates in the state.
“They are also strongly advised to get their booster dose if they have not done so, particularly for individuals with comorbidities and those above 60 years old,” he said.