Kuala Lumpur, Nov 30 (UNI/Xinhua) Malaysia will impose border controls to stop the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Tuesday.
Hishammuddin also said the government would pause its transition into the “endemic phase” and keep certain restrictions and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place until more information on the variant is available, he said in a statement following an inter-ministerial meeting on the country’s Covid-19 response.
“VOC (variant of concern) Omicron is being closely monitored. Covid-19 ministerial quartet has decided for immediate actions to be taken, pausing our transition to endemicity and imposing stricter border controls. This is in line with reopening safely to protect Malaysians and our efforts thus far,” he said.
The government had previously said it would treat Covid-19 as an endemic issue, with the reopening of almost all economic sectors and a move towards normalisation.
The Omicron variant was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) by South Africa last week. So far, over 10 countries and regions have confirmed infections of the variant.
The WHO has called the strain with a large number of mutations a “variant of concern,” warning that it may be highly transmissible and pose an increased risk of reinfection to people who have previously been infected with Covid-19.