In response to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in the country, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the surge is expected due to the Omicron variant, but he advised the public should not panic.
He said that the hospital admissions, intensive care unit (ICU) cases, and fatality index are the main indicators for the ministry to decide whether more public health regulations will be eased up in the future.
“I have mentioned that the cases index will be increased because we already have Omicron in the country as the variant is highly transmissible,” he said in a press conference after launching the National Covid-19 Vaccination Program for children (PICKids) here.
“If we look at other countries, their cases have increased exponentially. But the most important thing is not really the number of cases but the severity of those cases.”
“If the severity of the cases has been lessened, it means that hospital admissions and other severity indicators. So we can continue to reopen the country,” he added.
Currently, more than half of Malaysia’s adult population have received their booster shots and Khairy had encouraged the rest of the population to do the same as the country is eager to reopen the economy.
“Approach is calibrated, targeted and proportionate in opening up the economy and not broad brush.”
“Cautious steps still but, with the encouraging boosting and PICKids program, opening up will be accelerated but face masks are here to stay and no compromise,” he said.
Meanwhile, Khairy said the country’s healthcare system is well prepared compared to last year in case of a surge of hospital admissions due to Covid-19 cases happening again.
“We have added the ICU capacity, we are more confident in terms of the decanting pathway. So that if there will be a surge of hospital admissions, we already have a system same as in the private hospitals.”
“So that we can send non-Covid-19 cases to private hospitals,” he added.
The ministry recorded 5,736 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday (2 February).