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Malaysia halts release of separate Covid infection data

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PUTRA JAYA: Malaysia will stop releasing separate data on Covid-19 infections in order to reduce the “fear factor” about rapidly rising cases driven by the omicron rise, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said. Instead, the number will be announced the following day together with figures on hospital occupancy and usage of intensive care units. Daily cases hit a record 27,831 on Wednesday.

“We should look at it together with other metrics to get a clearer picture of the real situation” Khairy said at a briefing on Thursday. “This will involve a change in mindset.”  The move is effective from tomorrow, with Friday’s caseload to be released on Saturday morning.

Malaysia’s high vaccination coverage — nearly 80% of the total population have completed their regime and 58% of adults have received booster shots — has kept hospital occupancy rates more manageable than during last year’s surge, fueled by the delta variant. Almost 99% of daily cases involve patients who show mild or no symptoms, according to health ministry data. “While Covid cases are rising

It is the surge in infections among children aged 12 years and below that is worrying, he said, urging parents to sign up their children for vaccination.  Child infections have risen 160% to 16,959 between the fifth and the sixth week of this year amid the recent opening of schools, he said. A little over 8% of children between 5 and 11 years have received their first dose since the start of the inoculation drive for that age bracket on Feb. 3, data from the health ministry show.  Separately, Khairy said the government will issue new isolation rules, following too many incidents of people having to isolate due to contact with an infected person. Public healthcare workers who are categorized as close contacts aren’t subject to isolation, but only take Covid tests on certain days. This rule may be applied to the public, Khairy said. 


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