Malaysia experiencing small Covid-19 wave due to XBB subvariant, says Health Ministry

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is currently experiencing a small wave of increased Covid-19 cases following the discovery of the Omicron XBB sub-variant in the country, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said that based on daily data, the number of new Covid-19 cases had increased by 16.5% 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% 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 Oct 27," he said at a press conference here on Monday (Oct 31).

On four cases involving the XBB sub-variant, Khairy said they involved three men and one woman aged 25 to 51 from Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

He said all four cases were detected using genome sequencing surveillance, with all of them in category two and experiencing mild symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat and flu.

He added that only one case was a re-infection and all four had been isolated for seven days, while all close contacts had also been identified.

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 attended by the local community.

"Given the increase in cases of Covid-19, the Health Ministry reminds the public that we are still in the transition to the endemic phase 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 ministry is advising the public that the use of face masks – although not mandatory – is highly recommended especially in crowded closed areas and for high-risk individuals," he said.

Khairy also encouraged front-line staff, including Election Commission (EC) employees who will be on duty during GE15, to get a second Covid-19 vaccine booster dose. – Bernama

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