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Malaysia confirms 1st omicron variant case in foreign student

19-year-old woman arrived from South Africa via Singapore on Nov. 19, says health minister

Pizaro Gozali Idrus   | 03.12.2021
Malaysia confirms 1st omicron variant case in foreign student

JAKARTA, Indonesia

Malaysia has confirmed its first case of the omicron coronavirus variant, the country’s health minister said on Friday.

The new strain was detected in an international student who tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival from South Africa via Singapore on Nov. 19, Khairy Jamaluddin said at a news conference in the capital Kuala Lumpur.

However, that only happened when her earlier positive samples were re-tested once omicron was declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Nov. 24, the minister explained.

The university student, a fully vaccinated 19-year-old woman, was asymptomatic during a 10-day quarantine that ended on Nov. 29.

“It’s important to note that this case came to Malaysia on Nov. 19, before South Africa reported the first omicron case to the WHO,” Khairy said.

Five people who shared a bus with the woman, including the driver, were also placed in quarantine and tested for COVID-19.

“Both the first and second tests of all the close contacts were negative,” he added.

​​​Singapore detects 1st cases

Singapore confirmed its first omicron cases in two people who arrived from Johannesburg on Dec. 1.

They were isolated upon arrival and there is “no evidence of any community transmission from these cases,” the Health Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Both people are fully vaccinated and only have mild symptoms, it added.

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