Malaysia Confirms Second Imported Omicron Case, Another 18 Suspected Cases

The 18 probable Omicron cases are unrelated to the imported Omicron infection in an eight-year-old girl who arrived in Malaysia on Dec 5 from Nigeria via a Doha transit.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) today confirmed a second imported Omicron case, while another 18 people, unrelated to that case, are suspected to be infected with the Covid-19 variant.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the newly detected Omicron case is of an eight-year old Malaysian girl who was living with her family in Lagos, Nigeria.

“This brings the cumulative number of cases detected with the Omicron variant in Malaysia to two cases,” Khairy mentioned in a press meet today.

“Both of these cases are imported infections from abroad.”

Khairy also mentioned that another 18 cases – which are not related to the eight-year-old case – showed the possibility of the presence of Omicron through a PCR Genotyping Assay test.

The eight-year-old Omicron case was found from PCR genotyping assay testing on 52 positive Covid-19 cases among international arrivals from December 6 to 10, whereas the 18 suspected Omicron cases were detected from 81 samples taken from December 11 to 14 among international arrivals.

These 18 cases are currently awaiting confirmation results from a whole genome sequencing (WGS) process. Results are expected to be available tomorrow. It is unknown where, when, or how these 18 probable Omicron cases were picked up.

PCR genotyping assay is conducted to obtain preliminary results of variant type. Any sample that shows a possible presence of Omicron or is presumptive positive should undergo the WGS process to confirm the presence of the variant. 

Probable Omicron cases can be flagged through routine lab-based PCR tests as the variant lacks the “S” or spike gene. This deletion means that PCR tests that show the so-called “S gene target failure” highly suggest Omicron infections that can be confirmed later through genomic testing.

The eight-year-old girl infected with Omicron had tested negative for Covid-19 on an RT-PCR test before departing to Malaysia. She arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) with her mother and younger sister on December 5 from Lagos on a transit flight from Doha, Qatar.

Upon their arrival, all of them went through RT-PCR tests before undergoing compulsory home quarantine.

The eight-year-old girl tested positive for Covid-19 on December 7. She did not show any symptoms and was directed to undergo a 14-day home quarantine.

The identified close contacts of the girl include her mother, sister, father, and taxi driver who picked up the family from KLIA.

Her mother and younger sister tested negative on all Covid-19 tests, including tests before departure to Malaysia, upon arrival, as well as tests on the fifth and the eleventh day.

A RT-PCR test is being conducted on a taxi driver who drove them from KLIA to their home.

All three of them – the mother, sister, and taxi driver – did not show any symptoms and were directed to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

The father of the girl who arrived in Malaysia on December 12 is currently undergoing quarantine at a private quarantine centre. He tested negative in an RT-PCR test upon his arrival.

A total of 35 individuals who travelled with the girl in the same flight have been identified as close contacts and all of them tested negative on their Day 5 RT-PCR test.

“Monitoring of identified cases and contacts is carried out thoroughly from time to time,” Khairy said.

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