KUCHING, Aug 28 — The Delta COVID-19 variant has now been identified as the dominant variant affecting the people in Sarawak, according to the Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS).

IHCM director, Prof Dr David Perera said as of August 17, the institute had done genome sequencing on 220 positive cases with a total of 179 additional Variant of Concern (VOC) and Variants of Interest (VOI) being detected from them.

“Of these VOC/VOI, 178 were of the Delta variant and one case of the recently described Indonesian VOI detected in Bintulu.

“The overall Delta variant detection rate of 82 per cent observed in this report represents an increase from the 73 per cent reported on August 17,” he said in a statement here, today.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, IHCM has been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic in the state, tasked with testing samples and genome sequencing analysis to detect changes in the virus.

Dr Perera added almost all of Kuching Division cases sequenced were of the Delta variant with a detection rate of 99 per cent (68 out of 69 cases sequenced).

“High detection rates of the Delta variant were also observed in the Samarahan Division at 93 per cent (38 out of 41 cases sequenced) and in the Serian Division with 95 per cent (16 out of 17 cases sequenced).

“Sharp increases in the Delta variant detection rates were also observed in Bintulu with 84 per cent (20 out of 24 cases), Miri at 65 per cent (9 out of 14) and in Sibu at 60 per cent (16 out of 27),” he added.


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