2 sub-variants of Omicron detected in Malaysia

The severity of the sub-variants BA.5 and BA.2.12.1 are believed to be similar to other Omicron sub-variants.

Nurul Mardhiah

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Published: 10 June 2022, 4:46 PM

Malaysia has detected two sub-variants of Omicron, according to the country’s Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. 

In a Twitter post on Jun 9, Mr Khairy wrote: “Malaysia has just sequenced two BA.5 and one BA.2.12.1 cases. This is the first time these variant lineages have been detected.” 

Both sub-variants are categorised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as VOC-LUM, or lineages under monitoring under the Omicron variant. 

According to the WHO, the BA.5 sub-variant has been detected in 15 different countries as of May 10. Although it is believed to be slightly more transmissible, evidenced from the increase in cases reported in South Africa, its severity is considered similar to other sub-variants. 

“So far, risk factors remain the same,” Mr Khairy said.

In a video uploaded by WHO on Twitter on the same day, Mr Khairy also shared how the country’s vaccination campaign uses behavioural science to reassure and encourage citizens to be vaccinated. 

He said: “If you can get people to behave differently, to have health-seeking behaviour, to go for their vaccinations, then this will tremendously strengthen everything else in the healthcare system.” 

With the understanding that citizens would be hesitant and unsure of getting vaccinated, he states that the country prioritises ensuring that citizens do not feel forced but instead willing to vaccinate. 

“Make it easy for them, make it understandable, translate it into as many dialects as possible, get our public healthcare workers to go out to communities which are marginalised, far in the interior, to bring the vaccines to them,” he said. 

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