Remain vigilant against Omicron variant

30 Nov 2021 02:13pm
Varian baharu yang ditemui di Afrika itu Selatan telah memasuki Hong Kong. Gambar hiasan
Varian baharu yang ditemui di Afrika itu Selatan telah memasuki Hong Kong. Gambar hiasan

KUALA LUMPUR - People are reminded to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and take the Covid-19 booster dose as Omicron, the new virus variant, draws closer to Malaysia.

Deputy Minister of Health I Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali (Perikatan Nasional - Bagain Serai) said the new variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, has been detected in Hong Kong.

He said the government has started taking drastic action by imposing travel restriction on countries that has been infected with the Omicron variant.

“Those who come will have to take the swab test and quarantine for 14 days. I want to emphasize the importance of getting the booster shots for our safety,” he said in Dewan Rakyat on Monday.

Dr Noor Azmi further said studies showed that the immunity level of recipients with two doses decreased after six months thus why it was crucial to take the booster shot to further enhanced body protection.

“I believe that (in our country) we tend to think the Covid-19 spread is now declining as 80 per cent of the population has completed the two dose vaccination.

“But we have to understand that with the appearance of the new variant called Omicron that has been found in South Africa and in Hong Kong, it means they are getting closer to us,” he said.

However, he acknowledged that the vaccine efficacy against the variant of concern has yet to be determined.

"It is said that the Omicron variant is more dangerous since it has 32 mutations in the spike protein as compared to the Delta variant which has nine mutations in the spike protein.

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"This is why we need to get our booster shots," he added.

He said this in response to Ahmad Johnie Zawawi (GPS - Igan), who asked about the actions taken by the Health Ministry to ensure that the people are confident in taking the Covid-19 booster shots to protect themselves from the Omicron variant.

On Nov 26, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced Malaysian travelers who plan to travel to seven countries namely South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe are not allowed to continue their journey.

He said it is one of the government initiatives to enhance the precaution steps and control the border including the travelers who arrived at the country’s entrance gate.

He said three countries that have been reported to be infected by the Omicron variants are South Africa (77 cases), Botswana (four) and Hong Kong (two).

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