Coronavirus latest: Malaysia detects more infectious strain; New Zealand postpones election

Coronavirus latest: Malaysia detects more infectious strain; New Zealand postpones election

  • Malaysia says a Covid-19 mutation 10 times more infectious has been found in a cluster started when a man returned from India and breached quarantine
  • New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has delayed the country’s election to October 17 after a virus outbreak; Australia has recorded its deadliest day

Malaysia has detected a strain of the new coronavirus that has been found to be 10 times more infectious.

The mutation called D614G was found in at least three of the 45 cases in a cluster that started from a restaurant owner returning from India and breaching his 14-day home quarantine. The man has since been sentenced to five months in prison and fined. The strain was also found in another cluster involving people returning from the Philippines.

The strain could mean that existing studies on vaccines may be incomplete or ineffective against the mutation, said director general of health Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The mutation has become the predominant variant in Europe and the US, with the World Health Organisation saying there is no evidence the strain leads to a more severe disease. A paper published in Cell Press said the mutation is unlikely to have a major impact on the efficacy of vaccines currently being developed.

“People need to be wary and take greater precautions because this strain has now been found in Malaysia,” Noor Hisham wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “The people’s cooperation is very needed so that we can together break the chain of infection from any mutation.”