Malaysia has discovered a strain of coronavirus that is believed to be 10 times more infectious. The mutation, called D614G, has been found in other parts of the world, but was detected in Malaysia in at least three cases in a cluster of 45 cases that started from an Indian man. The man, a restaurateur, violated his 14-day quarantine order. He has been jailed by a Malaysian court for five months. The restaurateur owns an eatery in the northern state of Kedah.
The strain was also found in another cluster that involved people who returned from the Philippines. Malaysia's Director-General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah expressed concerns over the current coronavirus vaccines and said that the current studies might be incomplete or ineffective against this strain.
The mutation has become a predominant variant in Europe and the US. The World Health Organisation (WHO), has, however, said that there is no evidence to suggest that this strain is linked to a more severe disease.
"People need to be wary and take greater precautions because this strain has now been found in Malaysia. The people's cooperation is very needed so that we can together break the chain of infection from any mutation," said Noor Hisham in a Facebook post on Sunday.
The restaurateur had returned from India before violating his quarantine order. He was also fined $2,864 or 12,000 ringgit by a magistrate's court. A special hearing was held at Kedah hospital where he was undergoing treatment.
The man who had initially tested negative had violated his quarantine to visit his restaurant. After his second test showed positive, dozens of people who came in contact with him were found to be infected.
According to Bloomberg, 45 cases linked to the cluster have since been reported in three states.