PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is currently experiencing a small wave of COVID-19 cases following the discovery of the Omicron XBB sub-variant in the country, said Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said that based on daily data, the number of new COVID-19 cases has increased by 16.5 per cent, from 14,525 cases in Epidemiological Week (EW) 42 to 16,917 cases in EW 43 (Oct 23 to 29).
Khairy said the number of admissions of COVID-19 patients to health facilities (public hospitals) per 100,00 population also showed an increase of 14.3 per cent in EW 43 compared with EW 42.
“We suspect that the XBB sub-variant is behind this upward trend which is also the cause of the wave in Singapore which has taken three to four weeks to decrease.
“Perhaps, we are also facing an XBB variant infection with four cases detected as of October 27,” he said at a press conference here today.
On four cases of the XBB sub-variant, Khairy said that they involved three men and one woman, aged 25 to 51, from Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.
He said all four cases were detected positive for COVID-19 through genome sequencing surveillance, with all of them in category two where they experienced mild symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat and flu.
He added that out of the four cases, only one case was reinfection, and all of them had been isolated for seven days, while all close contacts had also been identified.
Thus, Khairy reminded the public to always be vigilant and extra careful, especially with the situation where the country will enter the campaign period of the 15th General Election (GE15), with many events will be attended by the local community.
“Given the increase in cases of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health (MOH) made a decision to remind the public that we are still in the transition phase to endemic, and that waves of infection will come and go.
“Unfortunately, the timing of the current increase in cases coincides with GE15, which is why the MOH is advising the public, especially the use of face masks. It is not mandatory, but now it is highly recommended, especially in crowded closed areas and for high-risk individuals,” he said.
In addition, Khairy also encouraged front-line staff, including Election Commission (EC) employees who will be on duty during GE15, to take the second booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In the meantime, Khairy said that Malaysia has ordered a new type of vaccine, Bivalent from Pfizer, which will arrive in November.
“There is no additional procurement, this is existing procurement; we have changed our order from the old vaccine to the new vaccine, which will arrive in November,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a separate event, Khairy presented Malaysia’s contribution, in the form of medical aid worth RM288,610, to Sri Lanka, represented by Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia, Air Chief Marshal Sumangala Dias.