Status of local areas of infection unchanged until next assessment in mid-June - Health Ministry

08 May 2023 05:05pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - The Health Ministry (MOH) today announced that the status of local areas of infection would remain unchanged for the time being even though the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that Covid-19 is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the move is necessary to meet the need for quarantine or isolation of Covid-19 cases in places other than hospitals and the need for employers to bear the cost of treatment and testing for Covid-19 for their employees.

Prior to this, the MOH has extended the declaration of local areas of infection from Jan 1 to June 30.

"Based on the current assessment, the status of local areas of infection will continue.

"Another risk assessment of the Covid-19 infection situation is expected to be carried out in mid-June 2023 to review the declaration of local areas of infection and the next course of action,” she said in a statement today.

Meanwhile, Dr Zaliha said the declaration that Covid-19 is no longer a PHEIC followed the decision of the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) Emergency Committee’s meeting in Geneva on May 4.

She said the decision took into account the global trend that shows a decrease in the number of deaths from Covid-19, admissions to hospitals and intensive care units (ICU), and the high level of the world’s population immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Dr Zaliha said accessibility to diagnosis, treatment, and vaccines had also contributed to the declaration.

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"The monitoring of the SARS-CoV-2 virus variants also showed that it did not cause severe Covid-19 infection.

"Although the SARS-CoV-2 virus is still in the environment and will continue to evolve, it is no longer an unexpected or unusual incident,” she said.

Nevertheless, Dr Zaliha said the MOH would continue with the control and prevention measures of Covid-19 based on the existing protocol as well as carrying out reviews and updating the Covid-19 guidelines with reference to WHO’s recommendations regarding the long-term management transition of the pandemic.

The ministry is always committed and will continue monitoring the Covid-19 situation at home and abroad and ensure that health services are optimally prepared to ensure the health and welfare of the people, she added. - BERNAMA