PUTRAJAYA, Dec 25 — Individuals undergoing the seven-day mandatory quarantine after returning from umrah pilgrimage, will be made to wear a digital detection device starting next week, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin

Speaking at a press conference on the Covid-19 development here today, Khairy said the move was taken after 30 out of the 49 new cases involving the Omicron variant in Malaysia detected between Dec 23 and 24 were cases imported from Saudi Arabia.

“All of them arrived from Saudi Arabia beginning Dec 13 until Dec 17. We discovered that a large number of them did not comply with the directive to isolate themselves from their family members but continued to meet with them. In fact, they were also found to be entertaining guests.

“Maybe guests and family members shook hands with them in the hope of receiving blessings but unfortunately they were actually getting ‘Omicron’,” he said.

Khairy said failure to adhere to the quarantine directive can potentially result in increased transmission of Omicron variant infections in the country.

“I hope the quarantine directive is observed. This is serious. We asked them to complete their quarantine at home and not in hotels to save costs. So please comply,” he said.

Khairy also said to date, 62 Omicron variant cases have been recorded in the county where 62 cases were imported and one local infection.

In light of the new development, Khairy said Malaysia will include Saudi Arabia in the list of high risk countries along with nine other countries namely the United Kingdom, the United States, Denmark, Australia, Perancis, Norway, Canada, India and Nigeria.

Khairy added the government strongly encourages those who intend to travel overseas to get their Covid-19 booster shots. — Bernama