KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 17): Forty-three new Covid-19 cases of the highly infectious Delta variant were detected in Malaysia between Aug 10 and Aug 17, lifting the total so far to 467 cases in the country.
There were no new cases of other variants of concern for the period, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
Of the 43 new Delta variant cases, 38 were found in Selangor and another five in Kuala Lumpur, according to his statement.
Dr Noor Hisham previously said new Covid-19 infections in the country were expected to increase as Delta variant cases had been detected in almost every state, adding that the variant could spread faster via airborne transmission and had an infectivity rate of five to eight in R0 value.
To date, Malaysia’s cumulative number of Covid-19 variant cases is 710. Of these, 690 cases involve variants of concern (VOC) and 20 cases of variants of interest (VOI).
For variants under the VOC category, 209 cases of the Beta variant and 14 cases of the Alpha variant have been detected, besides the 467 cases of the Delta variant.
Under the VOI category, 13 cases of the Theta variant have been identified, followed by four cases of the Kappa variant and three cases of Eta variant.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines VOC variants as those with “evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease, significant reduction in neutralisation by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures”.
Meanwhile, the VOI variants have “specific genetic markers associated with changes to receptor binding, reduced neutralisation by antibodies generated against previous infection or vaccination, reduced efficacy of treatments, potential diagnostic impact, or a predicted increase in transmissibility or disease severity”.
Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 numbers slipped to 19,631 today from 19,740 the day before — the second day of decline after daily cases topped 20,000 for five straight days.
The country has reported 1.44 million cumulative cases since the pandemic began in late January last year.