KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia reported 11 more Omicron COVID-19 cases on Saturday (Dec 18), taking the total to 13.
All 11 infections are imported, comprising three who travelled from the United Kingdom, three from the United States, two from Nigeria, two from Saudi Arabia and one from Australia.
Nine of the cases are Malaysians, while two are Nigerians, said Malaysia’s health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He added that the 11 cases are among the 18 samples that showed a suspected presence of the Omicron variant, as announced by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Thursday.
“The other seven samples, however, (we) could not confirm the presence of the Omicron variant because the whole genome sequencing could not be done due to the low level of viral load in the samples,” Dr Noor Hisham said.
With more imported Omicron cases in Malaysia, health authorities said COVID-19 measures have been stepped up at all international entry points and in the community.
Nigeria, for instance, has been added to the list of high-risk countries. Mr Khairy said earlier this week that travellers from these countries have to wear digital tracking devices throughout their mandatory quarantine period.
Travellers arriving from the UK must self-test daily throughout their quarantine and report the results on the MySejahtera app.
While large-scale New Year’s Eve celebrations are not allowed, people attending small-scale, private festive events must do self-tests before attending them, Mr Khairy had said.
Malaysia’s health ministry is also urging people to get their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.