PUTRAJAYA, May 9 — The new Covid-19 variants have been identified as among factors why more young people are getting infected with worsening symptoms, causing them to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said since the beginning of this year until yesterday, Covid-19 infection was highest among those aged 20 to 29, with 1,531 cases, followed by those aged 30 to 39 with 1,452 cases.
“They are the working-age group. Experts at the Sungai Buloh Hospital have confirmed that younger people are getting infected with the new variants and there are cases that do not respond to treatment, and treatment with steroids was also ineffective,” he told a press conference on Covid-19 development here yesterday.
Elaborating, Dr Noor Hisham said so far, 56 cases of variants of concern (VOC) and three cases of variants of interest (VOI) have been detected in the country.
Of the total, 48 cases were of the South African (B.1.351) strain, eight cases linked to the United Kingdom (B.117) strain, two cases of the Nigerian variant (B.1.525) and one case is of the Indian (B.1.617.1) strain.
“These variants have been in the community, for example, the B.117 variant, had been in Sandakan but we could not determine where it originated from.
“The new variants are more aggressive, if it infects young people, the MOH will conduct genomic sequencing and close observation to determine the variant,” he said, adding that the Covid-19 virus had adapted to infect humans with new variants.
As such he called on the public to remain vigilant and to continue to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP) set including observing the inter-state travel ban to break the chain of infection.
“What we can do is to stay home because most of the infections are sporadic cases of transmission within the local community,” he said.