The new hybrid variant of Covid-19 which has the characteristics of the Indian and UK variants found in Vietnam has not been detected in Malaysia, says health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said the health ministry had stepped up Covid-19 screenings, especially for those who arrive 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 said at a joint media conference with Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob today.
Yesterday, media reported that the Vietnamese authorities had detected a new variant of Covid-19, a hybrid of the Indian and UK variants which is very infectious through 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, adding that it is even more dangerous.
Meanwhile, Noor Hisham said the implementation of total lockdown from June 1 would give space to the ministry to carry out better public health actions to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
“This (restriction) will give the space of two weeks to restore hospital facilities, space for health workers to rest as well as for the ministry 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 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.