Malaysia’s health ministry strongly encourages masking indoors after spike in Covid-19 cases

Masking indoors in public places is being strongly recommended by the Health Ministry, as Covid-19 infections are on the rise again in Malaysia, said Khairy Jamaluddin.

Indoor masking is still optional, according to the interim health minister, although it is strongly advised while the country deals with a “small surge” of new cases.

He said that the increase in infections is most likely attributable to the Omicron variation and sub-variant XBB and that uptake for the second Covid-19 booster is still slow.

He explained that the fluctuating number of new infections is part of the country’s transition to Covid-19 endemicity.

“From time to time there will be ebbs and flows, and now it’s on the rise. The community needs to step up by taking precautions to wear masks in crowded, enclosed areas,” Khairy said at a press conference today.

According to Khairy, new cases climbed by 16.5% over the previous week during the week of October 23 to 29. (14,250 cases to 16,917 cases).

Meanwhile, in intensive care units, bed occupancy has increased by 2%. Additionally, all four of the local infections caused by the XBB variety are minor, he added.

The XBB strain is reported to be immune to vaccines and antibodies from prior infections, and it first surfaced in Singapore a few weeks ago.

More than 4.89 million cases have been reported in Malaysia since the onset of the pandemic.

Malaysia will receive the new Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech, known as Bivalent, in November.

But given the anticipated increase in new illnesses, Khairy recommended those who had not yet received their second booster do so as soon as possible rather than wait for the new vaccine.

As of yesterday, just 519,839 people have received a second booster dose.

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