The temporary suspension of travel permission to perform the umrah is to slow down the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant as data obtained showed that almost 78 per cent of the ‘presumptive’ new Omicron cases are from those returning from the pilgrimage, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
In a posting on his Twitter account today, he said that according to the Institute for Medical Research (IMR), the ‘presumptive’ Omicron is 100 per cent confirmed Omicron through the full genome sequence.
“Risk assessment will continue to be carried out. For now, we (Health Ministry) know a dose of the booster shot is needed... Most important is our response based on the new data. This is what is meant by an evidence-based response,” he said.
He also said that the transmissible of the Omicron was greater than the Delta variant and if the case denominator was larger there would be higher admission to hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs).
The Health Ministry wants to avoid the health system from crippling through a strategy to slow down the Omicron variant, he added.
Khairy did not rule out the possibility of a big wave of Omicron to start in Malaysia, like in other countries.
Hence the wide booster dose coverage; wearing of face mask; good ventilation; practise TRIIS or Test, Report, Isolate, Inform, Seek; using MySJ Trace and international gateway control are among the measures to slow the spread of Omicron, he added.
Meanwhile, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah through his Twitter account said the Covid-19 infection rate based on expectations according to daily cases on Jan 1 for the whole country was 0.99.
Yesterday, Khairy announced that the government had decided to temporarily suspend travel permission to perform umrah starting Jan 8 to curb the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
The postponement was due to concerns over the spread of the variant due to non-compliance by umrah pilgrims with the home-quarantine procedure, resulting in infection among family members.
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