Investigate Johor Covid-19 death for possible Omicron sub-variant, says expert

JOHOR BARU: A thorough investigation must be made into the Covid-19 death in Johor yesterday, to determine whether it is caused by the JN.1 Omicron sub-variant.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medicine and Public Health expert Associate Professor Dr Azmawati Mohammed Nawi said this was vital considering Johor's close proximity to Singapore.

She said thousands of Malaysians working in the republic commute daily, apart from the increase in tourists due to the holiday season.

"Actually, many factors could have contributed to the Covid-19 death because we are now living with the virus.

"The death could have been caused by various complications; having a history of critical illnesses or come from a vulnerable group, a travel history, or because of the current lifestyle including not opting for a booster dose, or becoming a close contact.

"However, we cannot completely rule out if it is linked to a spread of a dangerous Covid-19 variant because Johor is close to Singapore which makes it possible for the variant to spread that goes unnoticed.

"Therefore, a thorough investigation of the case needs to be done to find out more about the new death due to Covid-19 in Johor," she said when contacted.

Yesterday, Johor reported one Covid-19 death for epidemiology week 51 between Dec 17 to 23.

Johor Health and Unity Committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said three Covid-19 patients were being admitted to the intensive care unit, while 123 were being treated in hospitals in the state.

He said the Covid-19 infection trend in the past months showed a drastic increase.

Last Friday, it was reported that the JN.1 Covid-19 sub-variant had already been detected in the country, through samples taken in various areas in Sarawak.

On Dec 18, the World Health Organisation had classified JN.1as a variant of interest due to the high level of spread around the world.

Meanwhile, Dr Azmawati said, the wearing of face masks should be encouraged as a precautionary measure against the increase in new dangerous Covid-19 infections Covid-19.

She said this was due to the spike in new cases as well as the long holiday period and an increase of travel within and outside the country.

"There is an expectation that new cases will increase. Therefore, the use of face masks should be encouraged, especially for those who have symptoms.

"Those who are unwell should take sick leave and rest at home as a precautionary measure."

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories