Health D-G: Tests show Covid-19 virus in Tawar and Sivagangga clusters from same group

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says virology research undertaken by the Institute for Medical Research indicates that the Covid-19 virus in both the Tawar and Sivagangga clusters shares the same genetic mutation. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says virology research undertaken by the Institute for Medical Research indicates that the Covid-19 virus in both the Tawar and Sivagangga clusters shares the same genetic mutation. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 ― Virology research undertaken by the Institute for Medical Research indicates that the Covid-19 virus in both the Tawar and Sivagangga clusters shares the same genetic mutation, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.

This suggests that the virus source for the two clusters might be from the same, he added.

“Following the high rate of infection in the Tawar cluster which recorded 72 cases that involved three generations within the 14 days after the index case was reported in August 12, the Institute for Medical Research has conducted virology research on the Tawar cluster.

“A total of 14 samples were taken for the purpose of genomic sequencing and four samples shows that the virus has the D614G mutation, which has the high infection rate,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

“The four samples were then compared to three sample viruses from the Sivagangga cluster and we found that they are from the same group,” he added.

The Health Ministry previously detected a mutation identified as D614G type in samples taken from patients-under-investigation (PUI) in the Sivagangga cluster. 

Dr Noor Hisham said further investigation will be carried out in order to find which patient is the link to the Sivagangga cluster.

He also said the ministry has conducted a risk evaluation for the Tawar cluster, apart from other public health activities, such as the active case detection and contact tracing.

“The risk evaluation reveals that the case detection is not focused in one locality. The spread of the infection is from non-symptomatic patients and the place is a confined space with people traveling frequently between districts. There are also fewer tests conducted,” he said.

Earlier today, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that a targeted enhanced movement control order (TEMCO) has been enforced in Aman Jaya, Kedah, and will come into effect just after midnight tonight with an end date that has yet to be decided.

The TEMCO was likely enforced following a spike in Covid-19 cases attributed to the Tawar cluster that started in Kedah but has spread to neighbouring Penang.

 

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