KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Health (MOH) is investigating the cause of the COVID-19 infection of the index case involving the Omicron variant detected in Malaysia on Thursday.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the index case had undergone the pre-departure COVID-19 screening before entering the country from Singapore and another test on arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Nov 19.

He said the cycle threshold value (CT value) of the index case was close to 30 which means the individual is said to be less infective and is almost at the end of the infection.

"Our scientists are looking at what actually took place," he said at a press conference after officiating the Asian and Third Global Wound Conference 2021 here, today.

Khairy said contact tracing for the case is underway, adding that as of today the number of close contacts remained at seven people.

Asked about a study in South Africa that found the Omicron variant could reinfect people at three times the rate of previous strains, Khairy said the government needs to monitor the matter and has to depend on clearer data from countries with higher prevalence rates of the variant which it would obtain within a week or two.

He reminded the people not to panic but to continue complying with the set standard operating procedures (SOP) and to get vaccinated especially the booster jabs for those in the high-risk group.

"Our measures are among the strictest in the world. Malaysia has a high vaccination rate, we have sufficient booster doses and have optimised the capacity of our public health system in the event of increased hospital admissions," he added.

When asked about booster doses, Khairy said the decision on whether to make it compulsory would be announced next week.

He said the target of 75 per cent of fully vaccinated individuals receiving booster jabs was expected to be achieved by March 2022, as the booster doses are given to individuals at intervals of three to six months after they have completed their COVID-19 vaccination.

Meanwhile, Khairy said currently the government only imposed travel restrictions on travellers from Malawi, South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe following the spread of the Omicron variant.