KUALA LUMPUR, May 25  — The Health Ministry last week detected 13 new cases of Variant of Concern (VOC) involving 12 cases of South African variant B.1.351 and one Indian variant B.1.617 from COVID-19 samples. 

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 12 cases of the South African variant B.1.351 were detected in Kedah, Perlis, Selangor and Johor while one case of the Indian variant B.1.617 was detected in Labuan involving a local. 

“The results of genomic surveillance conducted continuously by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) on COVID-19 samples from May 17 to May 23 have identified and confirmed the existence of 13 more VOC cases.

“To date, the total number of COVID-19 cases infected with South African variant B.1.351 is 78 cases and six cases of the Indian variant B.1.671 (including sublineage B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2),” he said in a statement today.

To curb the spread of the variants in the community, Dr Noor Hisham said the MOH will strengthen infectious disease control activities such as continuing genomic surveillance, increasing screening tests, conducting contact detection and case isolation as well as other public health measures.

The Indian variant B.1.617.2 was detected in Malaysia when a local citizen who was a close contact to an Indian national was found positive after both boarded the same flight from Kuala Lumpur to Labuan on April 23.


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