Covid-19: Health Ministry says cases up by 57.3%

KUALA LUMPUR: There has been a 57.3% increase in Covid-19 cases as 3,626 cases have been reported in the 47th epidemiological week (ME47/2023) from Nov 19-25, says the Health Ministry.

Comparing it to the 2,305 cases reported in ME46/2023 (Nov 12-18), Health Director-General Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan said the majority of cases (48%) are made up of those aged between 20 and 40, with 98% of those cases only showing mild symptoms.

"The weekly cases detected have exceeded 1,000 cases every week from ME41/2023 to ME47/2023, with an increase rate between 7.1% and 57.3%.

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"Eight active Covid-19 clusters have been reported with a total of 121 cases involved. The cumulative amount of clusters reported up to ME47/2023 is 7,248. The majority of reports are clusters involving the education sector," he said in a statement on Sunday (Dec 3).

Dr Muhammad Radzi said the admission rate of Covid-19 patients to health facilities here has increased to 2.9% per 100,000 of the population during ME47/2023 compared to 2% during ME46/2023.

This figure includes suspected cases as well as confirmed infections.

"During ME47/2023 the occupancy of Intensive Care Units (ICU) was 0.4%, while non-critical Covid-19 bed occupancy was at 0.9%. In ME47/2023, a total of four new Omicron variants were reported which all consist of Variants of Concern (VOC)," said Dr Muhammad Radzi.

He added that the cumulative cases infected by SARS-CoV-2 virus categorised as VOC and Variant of Interest (VOI) are 28,102 cases and said that of the total detected, 27,297 cases were VOC while 805 cases were VOI.

He then said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported the rise of new Omicron variants, with BA.2.86 which was first reported on July 24, 2023.

"It is classified as a VOI and there are almost 46 countries who have reported that variant. However, there are no clinical changes and severity caused due to it. In Malaysia, two cases of BA.2.86 have been reported at this point," said Dr Muhammad Radzi.

"The case was detected through symptom screening and both cases have no history of going abroad within 14 days of the symptoms. They have been treated as outpatients and are in stable condition," he added.

Dr Muhammad Radzi then said that although there is an increase in Covid-19 cases the situation is under control and is not burdening existing health facilities.

He also said that the Health Ministry will continue to monitor the situation and variants from time to time.

"Health workers at public and private health facilities have been urged to be alert with increasing cases, especially of patients with acute respiratory symptoms especially in high-risk groups," said Dr Muhammad Radzi.

He said that the public is advised to always practice preventive measures, including maintaining a high level of personal hygiene.

"For those with symptoms, you are advised to rest at home and not go to crowded places. It is advised to wear a face mask to avoid the spread of the infection," said Dr Muhammad Radzi.

"High-risk groups such as the elderly, individuals with chronic diseases, individuals with low immunity, and pregnant women are encouraged to wear a face mask when going out. Practice TRIIS (Test, Report, Isolate, Inform, and Seek)," he added.

Dr Muhammad Radzi said that those who show symptoms should seek medical attention immediately and undergo any further treatment should they worsen.

"Get the Paxlovid antiviral treatment at the nearest Health Clinic if you test positive to reduce the risk of serious infection and complications," he said.

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