Malaysia detects first case of Omicron Covid-19 variant

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KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) – Malaysia has detected the country’s first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said on Friday (Dec 3).

It was detected in a foreign student from South Africa who arrived in Malaysia via Singapore on Nov 19, he said.

The student is currently under quarantine along with five others who were on a bus together from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh, Perak, news portal Malaysiakini reported.

Mr Khairy said the student entered Malaysia before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Omicron a variant of concern.

Malaysia on Wednesday temporarily banned the entry of travellers from countries that have reported the Omicron Covid-19 variant or are considered high risk.

The travel ban applies to eight African countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, and could be extended to other nations where the variant has been detected, such as Britain and the Netherlands.

Malaysia will also delay plans to set up vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) with the affected countries and reimpose quarantine requirements for Malaysian citizens and long-term residents returning from those nations, regardless of their vaccination status.

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