KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 – Four locally transmitted Omicron cases were reported in Kedah today, all of whom were close contacts of an Umrah pilgrim who was infected with the coronavirus variant.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Muslim pilgrim returned from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia three weeks ago on December 12 and was confirmed to be infected with Omicron on December 24.
The Muslim pilgrim’s four close contacts were exposed to the highly contagious virus on December 13 and began showing symptoms on December 17. Their Covid-19 RT-PCR tests on December 19 showed positive results with cycle threshold (CT) values of between 20.8 and 21.49. All four with mild Covid-19 in Category Two were treated for 14 days at Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital in Sungai Petani, Kedah.
“The Ministry of Health (MOH) wishes to issue a reminder for individuals directed for mandatory quarantine in their residence or home to follow the order, to isolate in a separate room, and to refrain from meeting with members of the household or other people,” Khairy said in a statement.
“Failure to comply will result in the spread of Covid-19 infection, including the Omicron variant, to family members and the community. MOH urges individuals eligible for Covid-19 vaccination to get their booster dose to achieve optimum protection and to avoid severe Covid-19 infection and complications.”
Besides the four community Omicron cases in Kedah, Khairy also reported today 54 new imported Omicron infections from Saudi Arabia (39), UAE (seven), United Kingdom (four), Nigeria (two), and one each from Kazakhstan and France.
As of today, Malaysia has confirmed 122 Omicron cases, comprising 117 imported and five local transmissions. About 58.2 per cent (71 cases) were from Umrah pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia.
PCR genotyping assay run by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) also flagged 1,220, or 68.8 per cent, presumptive Omicron cases out of 1,774 positive Covid-19 samples in international arrivals from December 1 to 31 last year.
Of the 1,220 presumptive Omicron cases, 928, or 76.1 per cent, were travellers returning from Saudi Arabia.
Khairy previously said that presumptive Omicron cases have a near 100 per cent probability of later being confirmed via genome sequencing as the variant.
The 58 new Omicron cases reported today were registered in Selangor (19), Johor (eight), Kedah (eight), Kelantan (four), Terengganu (four), Kuala Lumpur (four), Penang (three), Perak (three), and one each in Labuan, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perlis, and Sabah.
All 58, except one with moderate Covid-19 in Category Three in a traveller from Saudi Arabia, had asymptomatic or mild disease in Category One or Two.