6 test positive for new Covid-19 variant ‘Arcturus’ in Sarawak

Covid-19 (file photo)

KUCHING, April 20: The new Covid-19 variant, XBB1.16 or Arcturus, has been detected in Sarawak.

According to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) Prof Dr David Perera, six individuals in Sarawak have tested positive for the latest variant.

In his latest report to Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas today, Dr Perera said Arcturus has been responsible for the dramatic rise in Covid-19 cases recently in India and other countries.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorised the Arcturus varians as a variant under monitoring due to its potential for increased infectivity and pathogenicity.

“Given the detection of the Arcturus variant in Sarawak, the general public is strongly advised to be aware of the heightened risk of infection.

“Everyone must take the necessary precautions to avoid infection and prevent the spread to vulnerable individuals, particularly during this coming festive season,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Perera said IHCM has been tracking the Covid-19 variants that are circulating in Sarawak and successfully sequenced 33 samples between Feb 20 to April 13, 2023.

He said these samples are positive cases obtained predominantly in Kuching while Serian contributed one and Sibu two cases.

“The Omicron VOC (Variant of Concern) remains the dominant variant with several different XBB.1 sub-variants circulating,” he added. — DayakDaily