Covid-19: New infection wave may emerge sooner than expected, says KJ

REMBAU: A potential new wave of Covid-19 infection may emerge sooner than earlier forecast, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pic).

He said this was based on the number of cases reported in recent days both here and across the Causeway.

"Over the past two to three days, we have been reporting more than 2,000 cases a day against 1,000 to 2,000 previously.

"Today (Thursday, June 23) alone, we have 2,796 cases with two new clusters reported at institutions of higher learning.

"So, if we are not cautious, the cases will keep on increasing in the coming weeks," he told reporters after opening the otorhinolaryngology centre and sleep laboratory at the Rembau Hospital.

On Tuesday (June 21), Khairy said Covid-19 cases would fluctuate and a potential new infection wave might emerge in the next few months, despite the current situation being under control.

ALSO READ: Covid-19: Highly infectious Omicron sub-variants detected in Sarawak

He said Malaysians ought to know the latest developments so that they can take preventive measures against contracting the virus.

"This is more of a preventive measure so that we are ready, and not to scare anyone.

"In fact, other nations also face a similar situation from time to time," he said.

Khairy said what was important was that the new wave was not severe and that the number of deaths and admissions into intensive care units remained low or under control.

He said all states except Selangor, Johor, Kedah, Terengganu and the Federal Territories have reported an increase in the number of cases compared with the previous day with two new higher education clusters also being reported.

"It is also my hope that those above 60 and those with chronic illnesses will take the second booster shot as this is the best way to keep safe," he said.

As of June 20, almost 108,000 individuals aged 12 years and above had received their second Covid-19 booster jabs.

Almost 58,000 are above 60.

ALSO READ: Covid-19: Cases on the rise in Sabah, says Masidi

Khairy said he was also closely following the Covid-19 situation in Singapore.

"I have to do so because Malaysia and Singapore are in the same epidemiological area with no travel restrictions and hundreds of thousands crossing the Causeway daily.

"My Singapore counterpart has also told me that the republic has been seeing more BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants which were more transmissible than earlier variants," he said, adding that these variants had the same effect as other Omicron variants.

Khairy said it was because of this that the government had decided not to remove all Covid-19 preventive measures such as the wearing of face masks in closed areas.

On a separate matter, Khairy said five cases suspected to be monkeypox were reported to the ministry as of June 21. However, all have since returned negative.

In his speech earlier, Khairy said the ministry plans to open one-stop sleep centres in all states in the next five years.

ALSO READ: ‘Malaysia hits all the marks of being in endemic phase’

At present, there are four such centres at Hospital Putrajaya, Hospital Serdang, Hospital Kuala Lumpur and Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah in Kedah.

"We plan to open such centres in 13 more hospitals and 27 specialist hospitals over and above the four that are currently operating.

"This is important as the number of patients required to undergo polysomnography or sleep study to diagnose if they suffer from sleep apnea has been increasing," he said.

Citing an example, he said patients from Negri Sembilan have to wait up to six months to undergo polysomnography at the Serdang or Putrajaya hospitals.

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