The Omicron coronavirus variant has already entered Malaysia and may have begun spreading locally, the health minister announced today.
The variant was detected in old samples of COVID-positive tests that were taken between Nov. 11 and 28, ahead of its official naming by the World Health Organization, or WHO, Khairy Jamaluddin revealed. The Omicron-infected person was a 19-year-old vaccinated undergraduate who had flown in from South Africa on Nov. 19, transiting through Singapore, and has already been released from quarantine in Malaysia.
“The person has undergone quarantine for ten days until Nov. 29,” the 45-year-old Rembau Member of Parliament said, noting that the patient was asymptomatic and had tested negative for COVID-19 upon quarantine release.
“We have to accept the possibilities that (other cases of) the Omicron variant is already in Malaysia,” he added.
Old samples of COVID-19 positive patients were recently sent for genomic sequencing in light of Omicron fears. WHO officially named the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 Omicron earlier this week after it was detected in South Africa.