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KUCHING, Feb 11: The Omicron variant has completely replaced the Delta variant and is now the only circulating variant of concern (VOC) in Sarawak.
This was reported by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) director Prof Dr David Perera to Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas today.
Dr David said a total of 77 samples of Covid-19 cases from Jan 20 to Feb 6 was successfully sequenced and all were identified as the Omicron variant, meaning a 100 per cent detection rate of Omicron in Sarawak.
“This indicates that the Omicron variant has now completely replaced the Delta variant and has become the single dominant circulating VOC in the State,” he said.
He also pointed out that Omicron cases involving returnees from Selangor, Pahang and Johor were recorded mostly in cities such as Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu.
Of the Omicron samples sequenced, he said 71 were identified as the BA.1.1 lineage, three as BA.1 and the other three as the highly infectious BA.2 lineage.
Dr David, a member of the Sarawak Covid-19 Vaccine Advisory Group (Scovag), thus advised the public to immediately get their booster shots as studies have proven boosters to be effective in defending against the Omicron infection and hospitalisation.
“The public are also urged to get their 5 to 11-year-old kids vaccinated during the ongoing nationwide vaccination drive for younger children, to protect them from the risk of severe infection and hospitalisation.
“Additionally, public health SOPs (standard operating procedures) need to be strictly adhered to and community gatherings avoided if possible, to prevent further community spread,” said Dr David. — DayakDaily