High possibility of Omicron wave hitting Malaysia, says Health Minister

Extensive booster coverage and wearing face masks are among measures being taken to slow Omicron transmission. PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - There is a high possibility of an Omicron wave starting in Malaysia, as currently seen in other countries around the world, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Sunday (Jan 2).

Mr Khairy said extensive booster dose coverage, wearing face masks, good ventilation, implementing TRIIS (Test, Report, Isolate, Inform and Seek), activating the MySejahtera contact tracing app and international gateway control were among the measures to slow the transmission of the highly infectious Covid-19 variant.

Although some have argued that Omicron is less severe than the Delta variant, Mr Khairy said Omicron has proven to be more infectious than Delta.

Hence, the country's health system and facilities will still come under strain if there is an increase in transmission rates.

Mr Khairy said in a series of tweets: "Like other countries, it is very likely that the Omicron wave will start in Malaysia. Some refer to Omicron impact data (showing it is) not as severe as Delta. It looks like that.

"But the infectiousness of Omicron is higher than Delta. If the case denominator is larger, definitely hospitalisation and ICU (intensive care unit) use will go up.

"The Health Ministry wants to avoid crippling the public health system. Strategy: Slow down Omicron."

Mr Khairy was tweeting in response to Malaysia's health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah's statement that the national infectivity rate of Covid-19 on Saturday (Jan 1) stood at 0.99, an increase from 0.98 from the day before.

Malaysia reported 2,882 Covid-19 infections on Sunday, bringing its national total to 2.76 million.  

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