It’s time to be extra cautious everyone.
Just a few days ago, it was revealed that a new variant of coronavirus, Arcturus (XBB.1.16), has officially entered Malaysia.
Yesterday (April 24), Health Minister Dr. Zaliha Mustafa announced that around 12 cases involving the COVID-19 XBB.1.16 (Arcturus) subvariant have been detected in the country. Six cases were detected in Sarawak, whereas four were found in Selangor and two in Kuala Lumpur.
Dr Zaliha Mustafa stated that all the patients exhibited mild symptoms and they were in stable condition.
Ensuring the people’s concern, Zaliha remarked that the World Health Organization (WHO) global Covid-19 risk assessment reported that the risks of infection and case severity from the Arcturus subvariant were much lower than the other Covid variants and subvariants.
Furthermore, Zaliha also said that the Covid-19 infection levels are still under control and have not strained the public health facilities, despite the fact that this XBB 1.6 subvariant (Arcturus) was discovered in the country back in March.
According to her, there has been a decrease of 6.4% in Covid-19 cases from 5,149 in the 15th epidemiological week to 4,817 cases in the 16th epidemiological week ending April 22.
What is Arcturus (XBB.1.16)?
The Arcturus, or XBB.1.16, is a subvariant of the Omicron virus. This variant was first detected in India in January 2023 and added to the WHO’s list of variants under monitoring. It is a recombinant or hybrid variant of BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75, which are descendants of the Omicron variant BA.2. Since it caused a surge of cases in India, it also has spread to at least 33 countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, the UK, Australia, and more.
Symptoms Arcturus (XBB.1.16)
The Arcturus variant can cause symptoms like a sore throat, a runny nose, fever, lethargy, cough, headaches, muscle pain, and abdominal discomfort. Furthermore, many patients reported conjunctivitis and itching eyes, two symptoms not seen in earlier COVID-19 waves.
Dr. Zaliha advised everyone to follow the TRIIS practice: (Test, Report, Isolate, Inform, Seek medical help if infected)
She also urged high-risk individuals, such as children, the elderly, and those with comorbidities, to mask up when they are in crowded spaces.
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