Tuesday, January 25

Omicron: 36 cases detected in Kuching, Samarahan, Sibu and Kapit so far in January, says medical expert


Covid-19 cases have shot up globally with the variant Omicron driving the surge in several countries. – AFP photo

KUCHING (Jan 15): As many as 36 Covid-19 Omicron cases were detected in Kuching, Samarahan, Sibu and Kapit Divisions this month.

This was revealed by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) director Prof Dr David Perera, who said the majority of these cases appeared to involve community transmissions.

Thus, he urged the public to remain cautious during the coming Chinese New Year festive celebration.

“The Omicron variant is highly transmissible. Our cases are through community transmissions.

“As such the public is urged to be extremely cautious in the coming festive period of the Chinese New Year. The public health standard operating procedures need to be strictly adhered to.

“If possible, community gatherings shoudl be avoided to prevent further community spread,” he said in a report to Sarawak Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

The report covered December 2021 to January 11, 2022.

Dr David, who is also a member of the Sarawak Covid-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, said the IHCM, which is tracking the SAR-CoV-2 variants circulating in the state, had successfully sequenced 262 samples within its current report period.

“The Delta variant remained the dominant circulating variant this December, with 212 cases detected and a further six cases detected this January.

“However, in late December, we detected eight cases of the Omicron variant, of which seven were import cases and one case with no history of recent travel. Then, we had the other 36 cases as mentioned earlier,” he said.

He also advised those who have yet to get their booster shot to get them immediately, as studies have shown a booster is necessary to boost waning neutralising antibody levels to protect from Omicron infection.