Yes, the restrictions were lifted last year but but that doesn’t mean the deadly coronavirus has been deemed harmless. It is still actively spreading.
Due to an increase in Covid-19 cases in China, our Health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa has called the public to get their second Covid-19 booster doses.
“The health ministry urges those who have received their first booster dose more than six months ago to get a second booster dose and not wait for the bivalent vaccine,” she said in a statement today (2nd Jan).
The existing monovalent vaccines are still very effective in reducing serious (Covid-19) symptoms and cases of death.
Dr Zaliha remarked that only 49.8% of Malaysians have received their first booster dose while only 1.9% have received their second booster dose.
According to the report, the Drug Control Authority has given conditional approval for the bivalent vaccine, which targets the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 in addition to the original Covid-19 strain, for individuals aged 12 years and older.
On Dec 29, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah mentioned the country’s stock of Pfizer-BioNTech’s bivalent Covid-19 vaccines is expected to arrive by the end of January, after it was originally supposed to have arrived in November.
Meanwhile, Zaliha further said that the health ministry will increase efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 at the country’s borders, such as tightening the SOPs for health checks.
Based on information reported by China to the World Health Organization, “Variants and subvariants found in China have also been detected in Malaysia” she said.
The latest Covid-19 variant – a subvariant of Omicron named BF.7 – is believed to be driving the surge in infections in China.
News of the subvariant has prompted many countries, including Malaysia, to impose temperature checks on travellers entering the country.
Last week, Zaliha also said all those with a history of travelling to China within 14 days of their arrival would be required to undergo an RTK-Antigen test, and samples would be sent for genome testing if they were found positive for Covid-19.
This also applies to those who have close contact with individuals who have travelled to China within the last 14 days or exhibit influenza-like illnesses (ILI) or severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).
The ministry will also run PCR tests on sewage samples from aircraft arriving from China, which will be sent for genome sequencing if they are found to be positive.
Having said that, the health ministry advises people to get their shot because it give greater protection.