Omicron BA.5 variant still dominant in Sarawak after found in 75 pct of new Covid-19 cases

Covid-19 (file photo).

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KUCHING, Dec 6: The Omicron BA.5 variant is responsible for 75 per cent of all Covid-19 detentions from Sept 28 to Nov 27, making it the dominant variant in Sarawak.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s (UNIMAS) Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) director Prof Dr David Perera said a total of 309 samples of positive cases from throughout Sarawak were successfully sequenced over the period.

“All were detected as the B.1.1.529 (Omicron) variant of concern (VOC).

“The BA.5 accounted for approximately 75 per cent (or 230 samples), followed by the Omicron recombinant variant XBB (18 per cent or 56 samples) and the BA.2 (six per cent or 20 samples).

“Additionally, three cases of the recently described recombinant Omicron Variant, XAZ were also detected in the Kuching Division,” he said in his latest report on SARS-COV-2 Genomic Surveillance to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas today.

Dr Perera further said that a detailed analysis of the Omicron VOC showed that multiple sublineages of the BA.5 are circulating in Sarawak, including recently described sublineages BF.27, BL.1, BM1.1, BN.1, BQ.1, CP.1, CQ.1, CR.1.

“We also see a notable rise in the detection of the XBB recombinant variant in the state with the XBB.1 sublineage dominant but with other sublineages (XBB.2, XBB.3 and XBB 4) also being detected.

“In view of the rise of more transmissible Omicron lineages in the state, the general public is strongly advised to be aware of the heighten risk of an increase in infection rates.

“Please consider getting a booster shot if you have not done so and particularly for individuals with comorbidities, those above 50 years of age and those who had previously received only a single dose of am mRNA vaccine,” he added. — DayakDaily