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Health ministry expects slight increase in Covid numbers due to Omicron XBB wave

However, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says there is no reason to be alarmed as the situation remains under control.

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Commuters wearing face masks sit in an MRT on the Cheras-Damansara line.
Commuters wearing face masks sit in an MRT on the Cheras-Damansara line.

The health ministry 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 caused by the Omicron XBB subvariant in the country.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin however advised the public not to be alarmed by the development but to remain 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 ministry are making a projection based on the infection model we had before, and next week I will be able to give a more accurate projection," he told reporters in Seremban today.

It was previously reported that Singapore's health ministry had said that the number of Covid-19 cases in the country had increased since last month, mainly due to the Omicron XBB subvariant, with the wave of XBB infections expected to peak in mid-November.
Khairy said although there was a possibility of an increase in cases in Malaysia, for now, the ministry did not plan to reinstate any restrictions including the mandate for face masks.

"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, then we will review (the face mask requirement) but so far, this is not necessary," he said.

He said his ministry had not introduced additional measures either for individuals commuting between Johor Bahru and Singapore, although it was monitoring the situation and has been in contact with Singapore's Health Minister Ong Ye Kung regarding the matter.

Meanwhile, he said the health ministry had sent its proposed SOPs to the Election Commission for the 15th general election (GE15) with no additional measures or restrictions 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 crowded places. The ministry has given its recommendations to the EC so that voting can be conducted safely," he said.