Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had in a special press conference yesterday (25 December) said the ministry expects to see a surge in new Covid-19 cases involving the highly transmissible Covid-19 Omicron variant.
This comes after some were found to have breached their home quarantine orders, causing the virus to be spread to the community.
Khairy also said that the ministry has received credible reports that some who were given Home Surveillance Orders (HSO) upon their return from overseas were found to have breached their quarantine order.
These individuals had even received visitors at home and inadvertently spread the virus to relatives and neighbours who were not undergoing quarantine, spreading the virus unknowingly when they went into public before testing positive.
“Some of them are not isolating themselves from their families when they should be doing so during the quarantine period by isolating themselves in separate rooms.”
“We have received many reports that some of these people have mingled with their family in the same household and this presents an infection risk if they are found to be positive.”
“We expect cases to increase, and as far as the severity of Omicron when compared to the Delta variant, we do not know yet whether this will contribute to the rise in hospital admissions as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, Khairy also revealed that out of the 49 confirmed cases involving the Omicron variant, 30 were from Saudi Arabia followed by 5 from the United Kingdom, 4 from Qatar, 3 from the United States of America, 2 from Nigeria, and 1 each from Italy, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates respectively.
“This shows two things. One, the emergence of Omicron is gradually increasing, especially among those from Saudi Arabia.”
“Two, the possibility of Omicron transmitting within the community is high since the case in Sarawak is shown to have no travel history whatsoever which means the variant is already inside our community,” he added.
Khairy then said the Omicron is a highly transmissible coronavirus variant, and some international travellers test negative on pre-departure but test positive for Covid-19 within several hours upon arrival in Malaysia.
“So I hope people will follow the HSO. This is serious. We gave the liberty of home quarantine because when we decided to manage and live with Covid-19, we wanted to make things simple.”
“But please follow it, self-isolate,” Khairy stressed.