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COVID-19 News - Malaysia  Apr 21, 2023  10 months, 23 hours, 34 minutes ago

COVID-19 Patient Admissions Surge As Malaysians Prepare For the Muslim Hari Raya Holiday Celebrations

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COVID-19 Patient Admissions Surge As Malaysians Prepare For the Muslim Hari Raya Holiday Celebrations
COVID-19 News - Malaysia  Apr 21, 2023  10 months, 23 hours, 34 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: According to the Malaysian Health Ministry, the number of COVID-19 patient admissions to hospitals per 100,000 residents has skyrocketed by 26.2% in the 15th epidemiological week from April 9 to 15, with the majority of patients belonging to high-risk groups such as the elderly and those with comorbidities. This alarming increase comes as Malaysians prepare for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations that start on Saturday April 22nd.

Image Credit: Samsul Said / Bloomberg Finance LP
In the last few days, hospital admissions have not showed any slowdown and doctors are stressing that more genomic surveillance is required as physicians and also medical experts are literally navigating in the dark as there could be a high possibility that some new XBB sub-lineages or spawns from the XBB.1.16 could be driving this new surge that is causing increased hospitalizations due to increased severity of symptoms.
In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged Malaysians to conduct self-tests before traveling to their hometowns for the festivities according to local COVID-19 News coverages. The WHO also recommended packing hand sanitizers and masks to protect themselves and the elderly during the celebrations. The Health Ministry echoed these suggestions, retweeting the WHO's advice from its official account.
Despite the recent surge in cases, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa confirmed that the government has no plans to introduce a special set of COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOP) for Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Dr Zaliha emphasized the importance of wearing face masks, particularly for those displaying symptoms, and seeking medical treatment immediately. She also encouraged the public to maintain good personal hygiene during the festive season.
Meanwhile, Sarawak has detected six COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16. Professor Dr David Perera, director of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak's Institute of Health and Community Medicine (IHCM), highlighted the increased risk of infection associated with the XBB.1.16 variant, which has been responsible for the recent surge in positive cases in India and other countries. The World Health Organization has categorized it as a variant under monitoring due to its potential for increased infectivity and pathogenicity.
Dr Perera also reported the detection of 12 cases of the XBB.1.11.1 variant in Sarawak, adding that the IHCM has successfully sequenced 33 samples between February 20 and April 13 this year. He emphasized that the Omicron variant of concern remains the dominant circulating variant, with several different XBB.1 subvariants present.
As the nation braces for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations amid rising COVID-19 cases, the Health Ministry continues to adapt to the evolving situation. Dr  Zaliha Mustafa also announced that several potential candidates have been proposed to replace Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, who will retire as Health director-general on April 21. A successor is expected to be announced soon. Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah is credited with steering Malaysia’s COVID-19 strategi es that helped the country to only suffer a slight impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In summary, the alarming increase in COVID-19 patient admissions, the presence of highly infectious subvariants, and the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations are all creating a challenging situation for Malaysia. With no plans for new SOPs during the festivities, it falls upon the public to exercise vigilance, conduct self-tests, and maintain personal hygiene to protect themselves and vulnerable individuals during this critical period.
For the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.


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