PUTRAJAYA, Dec 23 — The government is following closely the development of a new highly infectious Covid-19 variant that emerged in the UK, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.
He said there is little information as to how dangerous the mutated strain is and as such will not be allowing travellers from the UK into Malaysia for the time being.
“We heard that it is 70 per cent more contagious so that is why we will be monitoring closely,” the Health director-general said in a Covid-19 media briefing here.
“But we are still blocking entry for [nationals from] 23 countries, however, Malaysians returning [from the UK] will be allowed, but subject to screening and a ten-day quarantine,” he added.
Governments around the world have been put on high alert after British health authorities announced the discovery of a new Sars-Cov-2 variant said to be about 70 per cent more infectious.
But some experts here had reportedly dismissed the need for panic, saying the newly detected Covid-19 variant in the United Kingdom is not any more dangerous than the variants that are already here.
Currently labelled as VUI-202012/01 (Virus Under Investigation in December 2020), the variant was first detected in the UK in September.
Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry will look to see how aggressive and dangerous the new strain is to determine the appropriate response.
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