Malaysians in the UK grappling with Omicron are extra cautious

PETALING JAYA: Dr Hannah Nazri takes a Covid-19 lateral flow test twice a week and is extra cautious when treating infected patients.

That’s how she is dealing with the situation in the United Kingdom where there is a huge wave of Omicron cases.

On guard: Dr Hannah self-tests twice a week. Zaril too believes regular testing is key to prevention.On guard: Dr Hannah self-tests twice a week. Zaril too believes regular testing is key to prevention.

A Malaysian who has lived in the United Kingdom for more than 14 years, she said: “Although it appears that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is milder, I wouldn’t want to relax too much.

“It is an evolving situation, and we still have yet to understand whether the current measures put in place are effective in preventing the NHS (National Health Service) from being overwhelmed,” she said.

Dr Hannah, 34, a speciality trainee doctor in obstetrics and gynaecology at NHS England, said there had been more than 150,000 Covid-19-related deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test since the start of the pandemic, with the addition of 313 deaths as recently as yesterday.

“What we can see here is that the Omicron variant is the biggest cause of the huge surge of cases in the United Kingdom, but from what I can see thus far, fewer need ventilators as fewer people are seriously ill with severe respiratory issues compared with the beginning of the pandemic.

“However, this is an evolving situation and we are still learning and acquiring data to understand it.

“I strongly encourage people to be vaccinated if not exempted, especially pregnant women,” she said.

Zaril Razak, a manager in a Malaysian government-linked agency in London, said up until a week before Christmas, London was almost back to a pre-pandemic state.

“Everyone was out and about, but then when headlines started to focus more and more on Omicron, the mood shifted – especially since there were rumours of a lockdown.

“The main difference about this variant compared with the previous ones, is that I personally know a lot more people who actually caught it – close friends around my age, office peers as well,” he said, adding that more people have been staying indoors since then.”

In fact, Zaril is currently self-isolating as he tested positive last Monday.

“I believe that testing is key. Here, testing is free. Having said that, getting Covid-19 here felt a bit de-sensitised because so many people got it,” he said.

Mohammad Fikry Abdullah, 39, who is doing his PhD in University of Leeds, said he is also taking extra precautions.

“I try to avoid crowded areas, especially indoors, and try to be outdoors or in an open space as much as possible.”

Apart from that, he also conducts lateral flow tests frequently.

Mohamad Fikry said he had taken his Covid-19 booster shot as the process had been expedited in the United Kingdom.

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Covid-19 , Omicron , United Kingdom


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