New hybrid variant in Vietnam not yet detected in Malaysia

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in a discussion with Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (right) before a press conference regarding a full movement control order for the economic and social sectors at the Perdana Putra building today. Photo: Bernama

PUTRAJAYA: The new hybrid variant of Covid-19 which has the characteristics of the Indian and United Kingdom variants found in Vietnam has not been detected in other countries including Malaysia, said Health director-general Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah.

In this regard, he said the Ministry of Health (MOH) has stepped up Covid-19 screenings especially for those who arrived from countries with variants of concern (VOC) to contain the entry of the hybrid variant.

“The hybrid variant of Indian and UK variants has been reported in Vietnam, but not in other countries (including Malaysia). As such we have to tighten border control and screening to stop the entry of this new variant into the country,” he told a joint media conference with Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob here yesterday.

On Saturday, local media reported that the Vietnamese authorities have detected a new variant of Covid-19, a hybrid of the Indian and UK variants which is very infectious through the air.

Vietnam’s Health Minister, Nguyen Thanh Long described the new variant as a hybrid of the Indian variant with the mutation of the UK variant and it is even more dangerous.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the implementation of total lockdown from June 1 would give space to MOH to carry out better public health actions to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

“This (restriction) would give space of two weeks to restore hospital facilities, space for health workers to rest as well as for MOH to look into the requirement of equipment and so on during this period.

“During this period, we will implement public health measures such as targeted screening in the field where those who are positive are isolated and given treatment, ” he said.

In the meantime, he said the stay-at-home and vaccination strategies currently being implemented nationwide would be able to help beat the Covid-19 curve in the next three to four months.

“We need to adopt a new culture of staying at home as well as increase vaccination to ensure the transmission of Covid-19 is halted,” he said. – Bernama