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Omicron XBB variant detected in M’sia, cases to increase: KJ

Omicron XBB variant detected in M’sia, cases to increase: KJ

SEREMBAN: The Ministry of Health (KKM) expects a slight increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the next few weeks following the detection of a small wave of infections with the Omicron XBB subvariant in the country.

Its minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pix) however advised the public not to be alarmed by the development but to always stay vigilant, as the country is still in the transition to endemic phase.

“We have detected the XBB strain in Malaysia, but so far it has not led to an increase in terms of hospital admissions and deaths, that is the most important measurement.

“To what extent cases will increase, my officials at the MOH are making a projection based on the infection model we have before and next week I will be able to give a more accurate projection,“ he told reporters after presenting devices under the Malaysian Family Student Device programme at Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Seremban campus here, today.

It was reported earlier that Singapore’s Ministry of Health informed that the number of Covid-19 cases in the country has increased since last month, mainly caused by the Omicron XBB subvariant, with the wave of XBB infections expected to peak in mid-November.

Khairy said that though there is the possibility of an increase in cases in Malaysia, for now, the MOH has no plans to reinstate any restrictions including enforcing face masks to be worn.

“The transition to the endemic phase must take into account the mutation of the virus to a new variant, if an unexpected new variant can increase infectivity, effects and symptoms, only then will we review (face mask requirement) but so far it is not necessary,” he said.

He said MOH has not introduced additional measures for individuals commuting between Johor Bahru and Singapore, but the ministry is constantly monitoring and has been in contact with Singapore’s Health Minister Ong Ye Kung regarding the matter.

Meanwhile, he said the MOH has sent a proposed standard operating procedure (SOP) to the Election Commission for the 15th general election (GE15) and no additional measures or restrictions have been introduced.

“I see that the situation is under control so we don’t want any restrictions, if you want to hold a talk, you are free to do so, but wear a mask in a crowded place. The ministry has given its recommendations to the EC so that voting can be conducted safely, ” he said.

Earlier, during the handover ceremony Khairy said digital devices are no longer a luxury but a necessity as numerous information on courses, research and so forth are available online.

“This programme is an investment, and so far it is for the B40 group, but it may be expanded further,” he added. –Bernama

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