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Things Malaysians Should Know About The Latest Covid-19 Variant, Omicron

Credit: Malaymail

You've probably seen the word Omicron pop up in social media and news platforms, but do you really know what this new Covid-19 variant is? The Omicron variant was first discovered a couple of days ago, reported by South Africa on 24 November. However, the first confirmed infection from this deadly variant was from a sample collected on 9 November.

On November 26, the World Health Organisation (WHO) named the variant Omicron, and categorised it under the Covid-19 variant of concern (VOC). A few days ago, WHO mentioned that it was still not clear whether Omicron is more transmissible or spreads easier compared to other variants like Delta. “There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants,” WHO said.

WHO also said that understanding how severe the new variant is will take days to several of weeks. They are currently working with technical partners to understand what impact Omicron may have on vaccines, but said existing vaccines are still important and remain effective in reducing severe disease and death.

Currently, there have been reports of Omicron cases in South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Israel , Japan, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the Netherlands. Not to worry, the variant has yet to be detected in Malaysia and Singapore as of writing. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that Malaysians are forbidden to travel to 7 countries including South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

On top of that, foreigners who had a history of travelling to those 7 countries in the past 14 days will be banned from entering the country. Malaysians and permanent resident pass holders are allowed into the country but with the condition of a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated quarantine centre.

Right now, what we can do is wear masks, social distance, improve on personal hygiene, improve indoor air flow, and take your booster shot. Stay safe everyone!


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