Health DG: Omicron variant detected among 298 new VOC cases reported between Nov 19-Dec 8

PETALING JAYA: A total of 298 new Covid-19 Variants of Concern (VOC) cases were reported between Nov 19 and Dec 8 this year, says the Health Ministry.

Its director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in the ministry’s daily Covid-19 update on Saturday (Dec 11) said the variants comprise Delta (B.1.617.2), Beta (B.1.1351), and one case of Omicron (B.1.1.529).

The 298 cases were identified by the Institute of Medical Research (IMR), University Malaya’s Faculty of Medicine (FOM-UM), the Integrative Pharmacogenomics Institute (iPROMISE), the Tropical Infectious Diseases Research & Education Centre (TIDREC), and Hospital Universiti Putra Malaysia (HPUPM).

“The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases categorised as Variants of Concern (VOC) and Variants of Interest (VOI) is 4,990 cases. Of the total of those detected, 4,970 cases were VOC, while 20 cases were VOI,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

Of the cumulative VOC cases, 4,722 cases were Delta; 233 Beta; 14 Alpha; and one Omicron. For VOIs detected, 13 cases were Theta, four Kappa cases and three Eta cases.

Between Nov 19 and Dec 8, Selangor recorded the highest number of VOCs detected at 85, followed by Perak (40), and Penang (39).

Meanwhile, 4,626 new cases and 4,690 recoveries were recorded today.

Malaysia’s cumulative Covid-19 case number now stands at 2,688,149. However, there were also a total of 2,596,509 recoveries to date.

There are 396 cases requiring treatment in intensive care units (ICU). They comprise 344 cases, while the remaining 52 cases are suspected, probable or still under investigation.

A total of 211 cases require ventilator support.

Dr Noor Hisham said of the new 4,626 daily cases, 95 cases (2.1 %) were from categories 3, 4 and 5, while 4,531 cases (97.9%) were from categories 1 and 2.

Category 1 means a patient is asymptomatic. Category 2 is for those with mild symptoms. Category 3 cases experience pneumonia while cases in Category 4 have pneumonia and require oxygen. Category 5 patients are in a critical stage, requiring ventilator support.

Of the new cases, 20 were imported cases while 4,606 were local infections.

There were six new clusters. The total number of active clusters is now 250.

The latest data by the Health Ministry also showed that the Covid-19 infectivity rate or R-nought (Rt) in Malaysia was 0.97, with Negri Sembilan registering the highest at 1.06, followed by Perlis (1.05) and Melaka (1.03).

The areas with the lowest recorded Rt were Sabah (0.87), Labuan (0.86) and Sarawak (0.72).