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James Rosh  Dec 15, 2023  2 months, 1 week, 2 days, 18 hours, 43 minutes ago

COVID-19 News: Malaysians Call For More Stringent Measures As COVID-19 Cases Rises Possibly Due To Human Vectors From India, Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore!

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COVID-19 News: Malaysians Call For More Stringent Measures As COVID-19 Cases Rises Possibly Due To Human Vectors From India, Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore!
James Rosh  Dec 15, 2023  2 months, 1 week, 2 days, 18 hours, 43 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: As Malaysia grapples with a worrying surge in COVID-19 cases, citizens find themselves increasingly concerned about the potential impact of human vectors from various countries, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom and Thailand where COVID-19 preventive measures, testing and surveillance are lax, and the escalating situation in Singapore. The surge in hospitalizations and the emergence of more severe outcomes have prompted a chorus of calls for the reinstatement of the Test, Report, Isolate, Inform, Seek (TRIIS) framework.


 
In a joint statement addressed to local COVID-19 News outlets, local Malaysian politicians Ong Kian Ming and Khairy Jamaluddin underscore the need for proactive measures to curb the virus's spread, emphasizing the importance of robust preparation for a potential new wave.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/12/15/in-joint-statement-kian-ming-and-khairy-call-for-reinstatement-of-triis-to-stem-new-covid-19-wave/107646
 
Concerns over the Influx of Human Vectors
Malaysians are attributing the recent spike in COVID-19 cases to an influx of individuals from countries characterized by lax COVID-19 testing and surveillance protocols. The list includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Thailand. Additionally, the situation in Singapore, where COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing despite assurances from experts, has raised alarm bells among Malaysian citizens, leading to a collective call for increased vigilance and stringent measures.
 
Unlike other South East Asian countries that are desperate for the tourist dollars of travelers from China, India and the United Kingdom, both Malaysia and Indonesia had recently put into place stringent health screening measures at airports and border entries to prevent the incoming spread of more worrisome SARS-CoV-2 sub-lineages and strains. This is to safeguard the local populations from being exposed to newly emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants which could possibly be more pathogenic and dangerous.
 
The Imperative of TRIIS Reinstatement
In their joint statement, Ong Kian Ming and Khairy Jamaluddin articulate a compelling case for the reinstatement of the TRIIS framework. They argue that this measure is essential to prepare for a potential new wave of COVID-19 infections. The duo emphasizes the need for precautionary measures, proposing the recommendation of new booster shots, particularly among vulnerable communities, the elderly, and those with pre-existing conditions.
 
Proposed Action Items for a Comprehensive Approach
The joint statement outlines a comprehensive set of action items to address the rising tide of COVID-19:
 
-Transparent Booster Vaccine Procurement:
A call for collaboration with the Ministry of Finance to facilitate a transparent procurement process for the latest variants of the booster vaccine available in the market.
 
-Reactivation of Vaccination Programs:
The Health Ministry is urged to restart the vaccination program through both private and public health facilities, ensuring that the immunization drive reaches all segments of the population.
 
-Utilizing MySejahtera
Recommending the restarting of the use of MySejahtera for the monitoring and reporting of COVID-19 patients, enabling efficient data collection and analysis for informed decision-making.
 
-Data Analytics for Pattern Analysis
Encouraging the deployment of data analytics teams, either within the Health Ministry or in collaboration with external experts, to analyze new COVID-19 data for patterns of outbreaks based on location, workplace, and patient demographics.
 
-Collaboration for Factory Worker Outbreaks
Urging collaboration between the Health Ministry, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti), and the Ministry of Human Resources to detect and address outbreaks among factory workers. This includes investigating and rectifying living conditions that may contribute to "factory clusters."
 
-Publicizing Daily COVID-19 Fatalities: Advocating for the public dissemination of daily COVID-19 fatalities to keep citizens informed about the severity of new strains, fostering awareness and encouraging vaccination, particularly among at-risk groups.
 
Southeast Asia's COVID-19 Update
Beyond Malaysia's borders, several Southeast Asian countries are witnessing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases. To curb the potential spread of various respiratory pathogens, including COVID variants, flu, and pneumonia, these nations are implementing measures such as mandatory face masks at airports and temperature scanning.
 
Malaysia's Recent Epidemiological Statistics
During the 49th Epidemiological Week (ME 49/2023) from December 3-9, Malaysia reported a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases - nearly 13,000 compared to the previous week's 6,796. Health Ministry Director-General Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan attributes this surge to travel and gatherings during celebrations, expressing concerns about potential strain on healthcare facilities.
https://github.com/MoH-Malaysia/covid19-public
 
Enhancing Protection for High-Risk Individuals
Director-General Radzi recommends additional measures to enhance protection for high-risk individuals, especially those aged 60 and above with comorbidities, obesity, compromised immune systems, or undergoing medication for chronic diseases. He specifically highlights the consultation with physicians regarding the use of Paxlovid - an antiviral medication effective within five days of symptom onset.
 
Variants in Malaysia
Radzi provides an update on Variant of Concern (VOC) and Variant of Interest (VOI), reporting 21 VOC cases and five VOI cases. However, reassuringly, no new variants have been detected in Malaysia. The existing Omicron variants - XBB.1.16, XBB.1.5, and EG.5 - exhibit a high rate of infectivity but do not cause severe infections unlike the prevalent strain in Singapore at present ie the JN.1 variant which while ‘experts’ claim are not driving disease severity… seems to be causing a rise in hospitalizations!
 
Medical Experts' Urgent Call for Stringent Measures
With the number of COVID-19 cases nearly doubling in the last week, medical experts are urgently calling on Malaysians to adopt stringent measures. Though mask-wearing is no longer mandatory, experts stress its importance, especially in crowded places, public transportation, and unfamiliar areas. The surge in cases, from 6,796 two weeks ago to 12,757 last week, raises concerns about the strain on healthcare facilities.
 
Health Minister's Recommendations
Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad, in response to the surge, recommends mask-wearing and COVID-19 booster shots for vulnerable groups, such as senior citizens and those with comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension. He attributes the spike to the high mobility of people during the year-end holiday season and emphasizes the need for self-quarantine for those testing positive.
 
Calls for Updated Guidelines
Former Deputy Education Minister Mah Hang Soon advocates for the issuance of updated pandemic preventive guidelines for business operators, particularly in retail and catering industries where large crowds gather. He proposes the encouragement of online shopping and take-out services to minimize physical interactions.
 
Stringent Rules for Public Transport
Dr Mah suggests the reimplementation of stringent pandemic-era rules for public transport users, emphasizing the need for the Ministry to provide the latest guidelines and recommendations to the public regarding additional booster shots against COVID-19.
 
Expert Insights on Mask-Wearing
Professor Moy Foong Ming of Universiti Malaya’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine underscores the continued importance of wearing masks as a sound public health measure. He emphasizes that masks, particularly for those with flu-like symptoms, prevent the spread of the virus to others. The elderly and individuals with low immunity are strongly encouraged to wear masks in closed or poorly ventilated environments.
 
Current Healthcare Scenario
The KKMNow website, as of December 11, reports 20,017 active cases, with 446 hospitalized cases. Currently, there are eight unventilated cases and 13 ventilated cases in the intensive care unit. The data indicates that while most COVID-19 cases involve mild symptoms and do not necessitate hospitalization, the surge in cases has heightened concerns, especially for vulnerable populations.
https://data.moh.gov.my/
 
Conclusion
As Malaysia confronts a significant surge in COVID-19 cases, the government and citizens alike are urged to adopt a multifaceted approach to address the evolving situation. The comprehensive set of action items proposed by Malaysian politicians Ong Kian Ming and Khairy Jamaluddin reflects the urgency of preparing for a potential new wave, emphasizing the importance of transparent procurement, widespread vaccination, effective data analytics, and collaboration with other ministries.
 
The insights from medical experts further underscore the need for stringent measures, with an emphasis on mask-wearing, booster shots, and targeted guidelines for various scenarios.
 
For the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.

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