PUTRAJAYA (Feb 7): The current resurgence in Covid-19 infections is “not unexpected”, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
According to the minister, the new wave of infections caused by the Omicron variant has not strained the national health system, largely because of the high vaccination rate in Malaysia.
Currently, the utilisation rate of Covid-19 beds in health facilities remains at a level that is not burdening, said Khairy.
As of Feb 6, some 12.36 million people or 52.8% of the Malaysian population aged 18 years or above have received their booster shots – this is equivalent to nearly half of the 25.72 million [aged 12 or above] who have completed two doses of Covid-19 vaccines.
Meanwhile, 33,599 or 1% of children aged five to under 12 years have their received their first jab.
“Recent increase in Omicron is not unexpected. This situation is caused by transmission of Omicron variants that are more easily spread. Increased cases are also witnessed in other countries around the world
“[As comparison], Singapore reported over 13,208 new cases of Covid-19 infection on Feb 4, three times more than the day before. On Feb 5, South Korea reported daily Covid-19 cases of 38,670, Indonesia 33,729 cases, Thailand 10,879 cases, Philippines 7,469 cases, Australia 22,985 cases and Japan 102,275 cases,” he said at a media conference on Monday (Feb 7).
Malaysia’s new Covid-19 infections exceeded the 10,000 mark on Sunday (Feb 6) – the first time since Oct 2, last year. The daily new cases climbed to 11,034 cases as of noon on Monday, compared with 10,089 cases the day before.
He stressed that a majority of the infections are asymptomatic cases or mildly symptomatic, that is in clinical categories of 1 and 2.
Meanwhile, Khairy said the government also welcomes and encourages employers to implement the practice of work from home (WFH) or an attendance rotation system to the office in an effort to create a safe environment in the workplace.
National Covid-19 Rapid Response Task Force reactivated
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has also reactivated the National Covid-19 Rapid Response Task Force (RRTF) to ensure a high level of preparedness in the face of latest Omicron wave.
Khairy said the RRTF is a special committee that will implement rapid preliminary action in controlling transmission in a state or area, which include adding beds and converting non-Covid-19 beds, building field hospitals and sending patients to private hospitals.
“The RRTF will be co-chaired by the deputy director general of health (public health) and deputy director general of health (medical), who will report directly to the Minister of Health,” he said.
Khairy added that all health clinics across the country have also been reactivated in preparation to receive high patient arrivals.
He noted that there are 370 Covid-19 assessment centres (CACs) at health clinics and in the community that are operating to make positive patient assessments of Covid-19.
“The district health office will always identify health clinics and public halls which are suitable to add the number of CACs to accommodate the increase in Covid-19 cases if need,” he said.
In addition, the MoH has called on private health facilities to act as a private CACs.