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17 cases of South African B.1.351 Covid-19 variant detected

KUALA LUMPUR (April 14): Seventeen cases of the South African B.1.351 strain of Covid-19 virus have been detected in the country so far, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said three cases were found in the Jalan Lima cluster, nine from the Kebun Baru cluster, one from the Teknologi Emas cluster and four from the screening of close contacts.

The Jalan Lima cluster spans the Sepang and Hulu Langat districts in Selangor, while both the Kebun Baru cluster and Teknologi Emas cluster were detected in Kuala Langat, Selangor.

It was reported on April 1 that the B.1.351 strain of the Covid-19 virus — which was first reported in the UK and South Africa last December — is being transmitted locally.

The South African B.1.351 variant was first detected in Malaysia earlier this month, with four cases found. Early investigations found all four cases were closely linked to the Jalan Lima cluster.

Two of the cases believed to be from the Jalan Lima cluster were employees of a company based in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Of the other two cases, one was from the Kebun Baru cluster, and one was a family member of an infected Covid-19 patient.

Noor Hisham announced that Malaysia's new Covid-19 cases climbed to 1,889 today compared with 1,767 reported yesterday — the highest number of new infections recorded since March 6. This brought the country’s Covid-19 tally to 365,829.

Selangor recorded the highest new cases today with 517 followed by Sarawak (489) and Kelantan (226), he said in a statement.

This is also the 16th straight day that new Covid-19 cases stayed above the 1,000 mark. The second highest daily new cases figure was 1,854 reported on April 9.

Meanwhile, the number of active cases, or Covid-19 patients undergoing treatment, soared to 16,696 from 16,300 recorded the day before.

There are 204 Covid-19 patients in intensive care with 79 of them needing respiratory aid, according to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The death toll climbed to 1,353 after eight more fatalities were reported — five in Sarawak, while one each in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Sabah. The deceased were aged between 45 and 89.

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