Surge in COVID-19 cases is not expected to occur during the festive season

by Rosli Mansor

The Director General of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah expects that there will be no surge in new cases of COVID-19 during this year’s festive season.

According to him, based on experience after the national border was reopened on 1 April 2022, which had various festivals such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Aidiladha and Christmas, even during the 15th General Election there was no surge in cases.

“In the beginning we were not sure that the case could be well controlled, but it turns out that a period of more than eight months has shown that the cases can be well controlled even though we have opened all the borders of all sectors and allowed all celebrations and gatherings.

“New cases of COVID-19 in the country show a downward trend, with less than 500 new cases recorded every day in the last two weeks compared to between 3,000 and 4,000 cases a few months before.

“The vaccine used is also seen to still be able to provide protection from the infection of COVID-19. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the development of new cases and variants in other countries, including cases of COVID-19 that occur in travellers entering Malaysia,” he said in an online media report yesterday.

Noor Hisham added that the Ministry of Health will continue to closely monitor new variants, whenever there is a mutated Omicron subvariant, although cases are expected to increase with each BA1, BA2, BA4 and BA5 variant, but this did not happen.

“So far no new variant of COVID-19 has been detected in the country including the Omicron, XBE15 or Kraken sub variants which are now the most dominant variants in the United States (US).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), XBB.15 is a descendant of the Omicron subvariant XBB resulting from a cross between two previous strains BA 275 and BA2 10.1.

Experts have dubbed the strain Omicron XBB 15 with the potential trigger name Kraken.

The WHO labelled the strain as the most infectious subvariant ever detected with XBB.1.5 being the cause of the majority of infections in the US.

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