PUTRAJAYA: Two more Covid-19 cases with the highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant from the United Kingdom have been detected in the country.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that there were now five confirmed cases in the country containing the UK variant.
“The two recent cases, which are the fourth and fifth case, involve Malaysians with a travelling history to Poland. Both were found positive on March 30 and they have been given further treatment, ” said Dr Noor Hisham in his daily Covid-19 updates on Thursday (April 15).
Dr Noor Hisham said based on analysis, both travellers are likely to have been infected from a different source.
“Phylogenetic analysis showed that Case No. 4 who was infected with the B.1.1.7 variant had similarities with the variant from Poland. There is a high probability that the individual was infected while in the country.
“However, the cause of infection for Case No. 5 could not be determined, because the analysis showed that there were differences in the variant that infected the individual.
“This suggests that these two cases were infected through different sources, ” said Dr Noor Hisham.
There are now at least 24 confirmed cases in the country that are found to contain variants from the United Kingdom, Nigeria and South Africa since February.
On Wednesday (April 14), Dr Noor Hisham said a total of 17 locally transmitted positive cases were identified to be infected with the South African variant B.1.351.
There were also two cases of the B.1525 variant from Nigeria detected from samples taken at the country’s international entry point on March 5.
Dr Noor Hisham said with the discovery of more contagious Covid-19 variants in the country, the public must exercise precaution and abide by public health measures at all times.
“Note that the B.1.1.7 UK variant and the B.1.351 South African variant spread quicker and more easily.
“However, scientific studies on the symptoms and effects of these variants are still ongoing.
“Members of the public are advised to always practise personal hygiene by washing their hands regularly, wearing face masks in public, and observe physical distancing at all times, ” said Dr Noor Hisham.