IHCM issues be ‘extremely cautious’ advice on Omicron spread in Sarawak

by BERNAMA

KUCHING – Members of the public in Sarawak are advised to be “extremely cautious” especially during the coming Chinese New Year celebration following 36 COVID-19 cases of the Omicron variant detected  in the state so far this month.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) director Prof Dr David Perera said the cases involving the highly transmissible variant were detected in the Kuching, Samarahan, Sibu and Kapit Divisions, with the majority being community transmissions.

“Thus, be extremely cautious in the coming festive period of the Chinese New Year by strictly complying to the health standard operating procedures (SOP). If possible, avoid community gatherings to prevent further community spread,” he said in his report to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) today.

Dr Perera, who is also a member of the Sarawak COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group (SCoVAG), said those who had yet to get their booster shot should get them immediately as studies had shown it was necessary to boost waning neutralising antibody levels to protect from Omicron infection.

He said the IHCM, which tracked the SARS -CoV-2 variants in the state, had successfully sequenced 262 samples within its current report period of between December 2021 to Jan 11 this year.

“The Delta variant remained the dominant circulating variant in December with 212 cases detected and a further six cases were detected this January. In late December, we detected eight cases of Omicron variant where seven were import cases and one case with no recent travelling history,” he added.