KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, XINHUA) - Malaysia has detected its second case of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the case was detected after the eight-year-old patient returned from Nigeria with her family.
He also announced that there are 18 probable cases that are currently undergoing genomic sequencing to determine the type of variant.
The results he said are expected to be known on Friday (Dec 17).
Mr Khairy said that the girl, her mother and her sibling arrived in Malaysia on Dec 5 after transiting in Doha, Qatar.
They took a second reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test upon arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and were then placed under quarantine.
The test results for the second RT-PCR test came out positive two days later on Dec 7, and it was confirmed as an Omicron case on Dec 14.
The girl is asymptomatic and had been placed under home isolation for 14 days from Dec 7.
"The close contact of the case is the mother, sister, father, and the taxi driver who drove them from KLIA to their home," said Mr Khairy.
Her mother and younger sister both tested negative upon arrival in Malaysia on the fifth day and on the 11th day. They are also asymptomatic.
The other close contact in the case is a taxi driver, as well as her father who arrived in Malaysia on Dec 12 and is being quarantined at a private centre.
"The test result for her father upon arrival is negative," said Mr Khairy.
A test on the taxi driver - who is asymptomatic - is still being conducted, said the Health Minister.
There are 35 other contacts on the flight the girl was on, all of whom tested negative on arrival and on Day 5.
"Monitoring on the identified close contacts will be done thoroughly from time to time," said Mr Khairy.
He also announced that Nigeria has been placed on the high-risk countries list and those entering Malaysia from the country will have to wear digital surveillance devices.
The health minister had earlier on Wednesday said people who took the Sinovac vaccine and those above 60 years old, regardless of vaccine brand, will be required to get booster shots before the end of February next year, or face being classified as not fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Malaysia's vaccination committee has approved the Pfizer, Sinovac and AstraZeneca shots as boosters for all residents aged 18 and above.
Unvaccinated individuals in the country are not allowed to dine outdoors or visit shopping centres and places of worship.
Malaysia reported another 3,900 new coronavirus infections - 3,881 of which are local transmissions - as of midnight Wednesday, bringing the national total to 2,703,140.
Another 33 more deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 30,989.