PETALING JAYA,Jan: Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said Malaysia has detected its first case of the B.1.1.7 Covid-19 variant on Monday.

Noor Hisham said the variant was reported from a traveller who had been to Britain last month. The traveller was found to be Covid-19 positive on Dec 28 and was isolated for further treatment.

However, there has not been any domestic transmission of the mutant virus detected in Malaysia as yet, said Noor Hisham.

“Although this mutation does not cause severe symptoms, however, it can spread easily and quickly,” Noor Hisham said.

He urged the people to wash their hands regularly, wear face masks, especially in public places, and maintain physical distancing at all times.

Noor Hisham said the health ministry has been monitoring all travellers from countries with reported cases of the UK B.1.1.7 variant mutations, such as the Netherlands, Singapore, Turkey, the Philippines and India, since October.

He said genome sequencing has been performed on a total of 968 samples since last October to detect the mutation.

The new variant has been reported to spread more quickly than other variants. The new variant was first detected in September and caused several countries to cut transport links with the UK.


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