Today, 2 January, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin warned that there is a high possibility of a COVID-19 Omicron wave starting in Malaysia
"Like other countries, it is very likely that the Omicron wave will start in Malaysia," Khairy said while quote-tweeting Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah's tweet about the national infectivity rate.
Among the measures to slow the transmission of the latest and highly infectious COVID-19 variant, according to Khairy, are steps such as extensive booster dose coverage and wearing face masks.
He also listed good ventilation, implementing Test, Report, Isolate, Inform, and Seek (TRIIS), activating the MySejahtera Trace system, and international gateway control as additional measures.
Meanwhile, the national infectivity rate stood at 0.99 yesterday, 1 January, an increase from 0.98 from the day before, according to Noor Hisham's tweet from earlier this morning, 2 January.
Khairy also pointed out that — despite the argument around Omicron being less severe — it was more infectious than the Delta variant
And that Omicron will still put a strain on the health system and facilities if transmissions increase.
"Some refer to Omicron impact data not as severe as Delta. It looks like that," he tweeted.
"But the infectiousness of Omicron is higher than Delta. If the case denominator is larger, definitely hospitalisation and ICU (intensive care unit) use will go up. The Health Ministry wants to avoid crippling the public health system. Strategy: slow down Omicron."
Meanwhile, he shared that some 966 out of 1,077 COVID-19 positive samples from 21 to 29 December indicated as presumptive Omicron
Khairy shared the numbers while addressing the temporary postponement of Umrah activities.
"Of the 966 samples, 77.6% involved samples from travellers arriving from Saudi Arabia. The temporary postponement of Umrah activities is to slow down the spread of the Omicron variant," he tweeted separately, adding that the ministry will continue to conduct a risk assessment of the situation.
Khairy noted that the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) finds that presumptive Omicron is 100% confirmed Omicron when confirmed through the whole genome sequencing (WGS).