KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 — Malaysia is expected to see a surge in new Covid-19 cases involving the highly transmissible Covid-19 Omicron variant since the virus has already begun to spread within the community as some international arrivals found to have breached their quarantine order, the Health Ministry said today.
This is after a total of 62 confirmed cases involving the variant were reported as of today, with all imported except one suspected local transmission since December 15.
In a special press conference, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said there were concerns over those who were given Home Surveillance Orders (HSO) upon their return from overseas as the ministry has received credible reports that some have breached their quarantine order.
“Some of them are not isolating themselves from their families when they should be doing so during the quarantine period by isolating themselves in separate rooms.
“We have received many reports that some of these people have mingled with their family in the same household and this presents an infection risk if they are found to be positive.
“We expect cases to increase, and as far as the severity of Omicron when compared to the Delta variant, we do not know yet whether this will contribute to the rise in hospital admissions as well,” he told a press conference here.
He also disclosed that the ministry has detected one suspected local transmission involving a 38-year-old fully vaccinated Chinese national in Sarawak with no travel history.
Khairy then highlighted the number of new confirmed Omicron cases between December 23 and 24, with the bulk of them comprising international arrivals from Saudi Arabia.
Of the 49 confirmed cases involving the Omicron variant, 30 were from Saudi Arabia followed by five from the United Kingdom, four from Qatar, three from the United States of America, two from Nigeria and one each from Italy, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates respectively.
The majority of the cases reported consisted of Category 1 and 2 patients.
“This shows two things. One, the emergence of Omicron is gradually increasing, especially among those from Saudi Arabia.
“Two, the possibility of Omicron transmitting within the community is high since the case in Sarawak is shown to have no travel history whatsoever which means the variant is already inside our community,” he added.