KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — The Ministry of Health (MoH) said today 119 Covid-19 cases have been categorised with either the Variant of Concern (VOC) or Variant of Interest (VOI) strains.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that of the 119 cases, 14 were imported while another 105 were infections from inside the country, adding that 104 of the cases were VOC while 15 were VOI.

“Of the VOCs, there are currently 89 cases from the B.1.351 (South African) variant, nine cases from the B.1.1.7 variant (England) and six cases from the B.1.617 (India) variant, while of the VOIs, 12 cases are from the P.3 (Phillipines) variant and three from the B.1.525 (Nigeria) variant.

“The B.1.351 variant has been detected in every state in Malaysia. Thus, there is likely to be more of these different VOCs being spread in the community in all states in Malaysia,” he said in a statement.

Dr Noor Hisham said that since VOCs are found to have a higher rate of infectivity, the current situation should be taken seriously by everyone, adding that if the chain of spread is not broken, it will be more difficult for MoH to to stem the increasing number of Covid-19 cases.

“In this regard, MoH will continue to strengthen infectious disease control activities including continuing genomic surveillance, increasing Covid-19 screenings, conducting close contact detection and quarantining these cases of VOCs as well as other public health measures to curb the spread of these variants in the community,” he said.

Malaysia today recorded 6,824 new Covid-19 cases, with 67 deaths. Eight hundred and fifty-one Covid-19 patients are also currently being treated in intensive care units, with 422 needing ventilators.