WHO urged everyone not to panic over Omicron but to be cautious and prepare.
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Malaysia’s first Omicron case has been reported in a student from South Africa on Friday (3 December). All seven close contacts, including the student, were quarantined.
According to Malaysiakini, Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the seven close contacts of the student – a driver, a university staff, three foreign classmates and two roommates – all tested negative for Covid-19.
Terkini dari Negeri Perak. Kesemua 8 sampel ujian RT PCR hari ini adalah NEGATIVE iaitu kes index Omicron pertama dlm negara (Afrika Selatan) & 7 kes kontak rapat iaitu pemandu, pekerja universiti, 3 rakan pelajar universiti (2 Ghana & 1 India) & 2 rakan sebilik. Alhamdulilah— Noor Hisham Abdullah (@DGHisham) December 3, 2021
The student from South Africa arrived in Malaysia on 19 November, a week before the Omicron variant was discovered.
She took a university bus from KLIA to Ipoh, where she went under quarantine. She completed her quarantine on 29 November.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin called for calm over the new variant and assured that the current systems to keep the variant in check are working.
WHO said to prepare and not panic over Omicron
The World Health Organization (WHO) reminded everyone not to panic about the new Omicron variant but to prepare instead.
According to BBC, top WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the current situation was very different to a year ago.
How worried should we be? We need to be prepared and cautious, not panic, because we’re in a different situation to a year ago.WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan
It’s still unclear if the highly mutated variant is more transmissible or better to evade vaccines.
WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan said the world still had “highly effective vaccines” against Covid-19, but it should be distributed more widely.
The fact that they’re not getting sick … that means the vaccines are still providing protection and we would hope that they would continue to provide protection,” Swaminathan said.WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan
Since news about Omicron broke, there have been calls for more vaccine equity.
According to Reuters, Swaminathan said the Omicron variant may not have emerged if Africa had received and administered more vaccines.
There is a clear relationship between inequity in access to vaccines and the development of variants.WHO scientist Soumya Swaminathan