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Malaysia's Covid-19 wave under control, says Khairy

The health minister says this includes cases of the Omicron XBB variant.

2 minute read
Commuters in Kuala Lumpur wearing face masks take the LRT home after work.
Commuters in Kuala Lumpur wearing face masks take the LRT home after work.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today said that the wave of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia, including the Omicron XBB variant, is under control.

He said there had been a decrease in new Covid-19 cases, to 13.4% last week compared to the previous week.

"I also asked the deputy director-general and infectious disease specialist about the admission (of Covid-19 patients) to hospitals. It appears normal, it is no longer increasing and might even drop.

"... and we found that although the fatality rate has increased slightly to 0.07% in the same comparative week, it is still much lower than the CFR (case fatality rate) indicator which we have set at 3%," he told a press conference in Sungai Buloh on the Covid-19 situation.

However, he advised everyone to remain vigilant, especially at ceramah programmes during the last few days of the general election campaign period.
"So please be vigilant, be careful and be safe when you go and cast your votes. I have asked all the experts for their opinion whether it has peaked or is levelling off, in terms of the number of cases and so on, and they told me that the recent wave is under control," he said.

Khairy said health ministry had identified 40 cases of Covid-19 relating to the XBB variant between Nov 11 and 17, bringing the total number of cases of the variant to 60.

"But again, (although) XBB is overtaking (compared to Omicron BA.5), we have not seen correspondences in severity emerging which is a good sign for us," he said.

Khairy also urged the public to get vaccinated against Covid-19, saying this could reduce the symptoms of infection as well as side effects that could lead to death.

"The incidence of death among patients who have never been vaccinated is three times higher than among patients who have received two doses of vaccine and seven times higher than in patients who have received one booster dose," he said.
Khairy said vaccination efforts had successfully reduced all indicators of disease severity in terms of hospitalisation and the use of respiratory aid devices.

On the treatment of Covid-19 patients, he said there had been no deaths among patients treated with Paxlovid at the community level.            

"So far, the patients given Paxlovid and others at the health clinic have all recovered. This means that we are probably really at the end of the transition to endemicity," he said.

On CanSino Biological's inhalable vaccine, he said the health ministry was recruiting participants for a trial, which is expected to start in the next few months.

"We are excited about this because I think the next health minister after the election will announce the vaccination recommendations for the future, whether it is annual vaccinations or who should get annual vaccinations," he said.