Malaysia’s Covid cases may hit 15,000 a day as Omicron spreads

Malaysia’s Covid cases may hit 15,000 a day as Omicron spreads

Chuah Yi Qing, 8, reacts next to her brother, Chuah Yi Chean, 10, after receiving Pfizer's coronavirus disease vaccine in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday. (Reuters photo)
Chuah Yi Qing, 8, reacts next to her brother, Chuah Yi Chean, 10, after receiving Pfizer's coronavirus disease vaccine in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday. (Reuters photo)

Malaysia’s new coronavirus infections may hit 15,000 a day soon from the spread of the highly-contagious Omicron variant, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said as he urged citizens to take their booster shots.

The nation is “fully into Omicron wave,” he said in a tweet after Sunday’s caseload topped 10,000 for the first time in four months. “There are still 1 million seniors who do not have a booster dose. Please inform your loved ones to get booster dose immediately.”

Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a separate tweet that daily cases could reach 22,000 by the end of March if the reproduction factor of the virus remains at 1.2. Still, the nation’s wide vaccination coverage would ensure the severity of the infections and hospital admissions remain low, he said. 

Nearly 80% of the total population has been fully vaccinated, with 53% of adults having received booster shots, according to data from the health ministry. 

Malaysia’s community transmission of Omicron include clusters involving educational institutions. The government is focusing on the severity of the infections, rather than the number, Khairy said last week. Almost 99% of the cases reported in recent weeks have been in categories one and two, in which patients display mild symptoms or none at all.

Malaysia has extended its Covid immunisation drive to children as young as five years old, and as of Feb 1, about 15% of those between ages 5 to 11 have registered for their shots, according to Khairy. Among those aged 12 to 17, almost 89% have completed their vaccinations.

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