B.1.1.7 does not cause severe symptoms, but is highly contagious and spreads quickly from person to person.
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The highly contagious Covid-19 strain identified in the United Kingdom (UK) has been detected for the first time in Malaysia, Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah announced in a Facebook post last night.
He said the strain was reported to involve a traveller who visited the UK in December 2020. The individual tested positive on 28 December 2020, and has since been isolated for further treatment.
Health Ministry has been monitoring all travellers entering Malaysia from countries affected by B.1.1.7
In the post, Dr Noor Hisham said since October 2020, the Health Ministry has been monitoring travellers entering Malaysia from all countries where the variant, named B.1.1.7, has been reported.
This includes the UK, the Netherlands, Singapore, Turkey, the Philippines, and India.
They have collected a total of 968 samples and as many as 24 of those were studied via genome sequencing to detect the B.1.1.7 variant.
Thankfully, as of 11 January 2021, they have not detected any sign of local transmissions involving B.1.1.7 mutated Covid-19 virus.
B.1.1.7 does not cause severe symptoms but is extremely contagious
MOH through the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) and the National CPRC will constantly monitor the progress of this UK B.1.1.7 mutation and inform the public on updates from time to time.Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Health Director-General of Malaysia
Dr Noor Hisham explained that although B.1.1.7 does not cause severe Covid-19 symptoms, the mutation has the ability to spread quickly and easily, making it extremely contagious.
To better understand how infectious B.1.1.7 is, this tweet by American cardiologist Eric Topol demonstrates how Covid-19 infections in Ireland suddenly increased when B.1.1.7 took over infections to become the dominant strain of the virus there.
If you want to see what happens when B.1.1.7 becomes the dominant strain, you can look at Ireland, now the highest new cases per capita globally pic.twitter.com/IjyVwMDGyL— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) January 11, 2021
As such, Dr Noor Hisham advises the public to always practise personal hygiene by washing their hands frequently, wearing face masks in public places, and maintaining a physical distance from others at all times.
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