KUCHING: The Omicron BA.5 sub-variant has been detected to account for 32.8 per cent or one-third of Sarawak COVID-19 positive cases since June onwards.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM) director Prof Dr David Perera said a total of 165 samples obtained state-wide, had been successfully sequenced, from April 2 to July 13.
He said all were detected as the B.1.1.529, Omicron Variant of Concern (VOC).
From these samples, he said, a total of 121 were detected as multiple minor sub-lineages of BA.2, a single case and first reported detection of BA.4 and 43 samples of BA.5.
“While the BA.2 VOC continues to be the predominant detected sub-variant over this period of surveillance, a rapid increase in the detection of the BA. 5 VOC was observed.”
“From early June onwards, approximately one third (32.8 %) of all detections were of this subvariant (BA.5),” he said in his latest report to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee Chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
He added this observation in Sarawak was consistent with the global distribution of the highly infectious Omicron VOC, which has seen a rapid increase of its detection rate in many countries and has led to a surge in infections.
In view of this, Dr Perera strongly advised the public to be aware of the heighten risk of increase in infection rates in the state.
“Please consider getting a booster dose if you have not done so particularly for individuals with comorbidities, those above 50 years old and those who have previously received only a single dose of an mRNA vaccine.”